WBUR

After 87 Years, Boston’s Beloved Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe Closes

Diners wait outside Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in Boston's South End on Friday. On Saturday, Charlie's closes after 87 years in business. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Diners wait outside Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in Boston’s South End on Friday. On Saturday, Charlie’s closes after 87 years in business. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — Just hours left to get your turkey hash.

After 87 years in business, Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, a landmark restaurant in Boston’s South End, is set to close Saturday. It had announced in May that it would shut down.

The eatery is famous for serving African-American jazz musicians during an era of segregated hotels. Its notable diners include Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington and chef Julia Child. It was also a stop for politicians; last year, President Obama got a meal there.

In 2005, it won a James Beard Award, a distinction given for excellence in cuisine.

On Friday, a line stretched outside Charlie’s. Boston resident Steve Dunwell was there.

“I think it’s a loss to the city that it’s closing and it’s the end of a historical period, in a way,” Dunwell said. “This place was very important to African-American history in Boston and I think people should know about that.”

Longtime patron Cory O’Hayre was also there Friday.

“It’s an institution,” he said. “They haven’t changed a stick of furniture since what, the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s? Something like that. So it’s definitely something that will be missed and it’s something — you can’t replicate it.”

More Photos:

Marie Fuller takes an order from one of the many regular customers at Charlie’s. She has been working at the restaurant for 40 years with her brothers and fellow co-owners. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Marie Fuller takes an order from one of the many regular customers at Charlie’s. She has been working at the restaurant for 40 years with her brothers and fellow co-owners. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Co-owners Arthur, left, and Chris Manjourides have been churning out the breakfast orders at Charlie’s for over 50 years. Arthur has been there since he was 12 years old. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Co-owners Arthur, left, and Chris Manjourides have been churning out the breakfast orders at Charlie’s for over 50 years. Arthur has been there since he was 12 years old. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Fontaine Anzalone takes an order at the counter Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Fontaine Anzalone takes an order at the counter Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Arthur Manjourides flips an order of Charlie’s famous turkey hash on the stovetop. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Arthur Manjourides flips an order of Charlie’s famous turkey hash on the stovetop. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Marie Fuller and Chris Manjourides say farewell to Cory O’Hayre, a longtime patron of Charlie’s. Now that Charlie’s is closing, he says he doesn’t know where he’ll go for breakfast. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Marie Fuller and Chris Manjourides say farewell to Cory O’Hayre, a longtime patron of Charlie’s. Now that Charlie’s is closing, he says he doesn’t know where he’ll go for breakfast. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A waitress takes an order at the counter, in front of the old wooden refrigerator that has photos of celebrities who have visited the restaurant -- including President Obama. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A waitress takes an order at the counter, in front of the old wooden refrigerator that has photos of celebrities who have visited the restaurant — including President Obama. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
  • justcat

    I loved having lunch there – I will miss it for sure!

  • Guest

    You can thank the rotten economy, courtesy of Barack Obama.

    • Martin Carey

      Oh yeah – because the economy was in such wonderful shape under Bush.
      Put a sick in it!

    • jefe68

      They are retiring, they current owners have been doing this for 50 years.
      It has nothing to do with the economy. Which is doing pretty well in Boston.

      You seem like the kind of guy that blames Obama when some neighbors dog takes a whiz in your yard .

    • Lawrence

      Such an uneducated, ill informed statement.

      The economy is stronger than ever. The DOW is the highest it’s ever been in history, and inflation is at zero.

      If you want to bash Obama, go ahead on some of his more controversial decisions.

      But when it comes to the worst economic disaster in modern history that he inherited from Bush, you have to only give him praise.

  • Jon Johnston

    If morals and customs are to be passed down from generation to generation, young people must absorb them through imitation and experience.

Most Popular