Monday, December 15, 2008

Charlie. We're Going to Miss You . . .

Another Fort Worth Food Favorite is, reluctlantly I might add, being "de-listed." Friends and family, please be seated: Charlie's Restaurant is no more.

My daughter was the first to tell me a few weeks ago that Charlie had sold the restaurant, then my son called last night and said the name had been changed. He ordered a pizza to go just to see what it was like. It will be difficult to be as good as Charlie's, especially when Charlie himself made them.

My family and I had a long history with Charlie's, actually all 26 years we have lived in Fort Worth. When my wife and I moved here in 1982, one of the first restaurants we visited with our three young children, and the only restaurant that became a weekly selection was Charlie's. We watched him as his business grew and he watched our kids grow-up and met our grandkids. At one time not that long ago, my grown children and their friends would meet at Charlie's for pizza and beer, every Saturday night. About once a month Charlie would sit down and talk with us and regale us with stories of the restaurant business, New York, hunting and whatever else was on his mind.

His pizza was New York style, medium crust, chewy bread texture, crispy outside with good sauce and cheese. We always ordered two larges pizzas, sometimes three, and when the whole gang was there they would just keep making them until we quit.

We made and met a lot of friends at Charlie's, including his wife, children, his friends, and other regular customers. I loved the place.

God bless you Charlie and thanks for the memories.

Another Charlie's post:


Becca said...

Why in the world would the new owners change the name? People won't be as likely to continue going there since they will probably think the changes extend far beyond the name. Did Stephen say whether the pizza was as good as always?

Lizzie said...

This makes me sad. There were a lot of happy times spent there.

We like the Joe's Pizza on Berry by the College. I think it's owned by the same people who own the Joe's on Bryant Irvin. Those are the only two I would go too. Auggie used to only eat Charlie's Pizza. He really likes Joe's and it's a good thing. The child would waste away if not for pizza.

Here's my experiment in getting him to eat fruit. This was bananas. Please ignore my voice, I sound very east Texas twang here.

Francis Shivone said...

Becca -- I wondered the same. Stephen had just bought the pizza so I haven't heard. He didn't like the vibe though.

Elizabeth -- It is sad for me as well. I think some of our most enjoyable times together as family and friends was at Charlie's.

Not to mention the time the 6 thugs almost attacked me for telling them to stop using the F word in front of my kids.

I'll try Joe's.

jeffturner06 said...

It is January 2010 and I just saw that Charlie's is no more. I am writing a book on stuff about my kids and I havea chapter on Charlie's, which I had to change some due to the sale. Here is a draft. God bless Charlie, I will miss his pizza.

An Autographed Pizza Box

How many kids of yours had the proprietor of a pizza place autograph a pizza box? One of mine did at Charlie’s Pizza one day near where we used to live.

Charlie’s pizza was a neighborhood institution on the east side of Fort Worth. For over 25 years Charlie and his family owned it and produced New York style pizza for we hamburger and Mexican food obsessed Texans. His pizza was always fresh and delicious, topped with fresh ingredients and a good thin crust. Indeed it was tasty and we ate there frequently as did many others who lived on that side of town. In fact one year it was voted as “best pizza” in Fort Worth.

Over time Roger was old enough to realize what Charlie’s was and ask for it. He also knew who Charlie was since we ate there in person many times. Roger would always be happy when we announced we would be eating there and ate his share of each pizzas pie. Like us, it was one of his favorite places to dine at. And remained so over the years.

But what was the most special thing about Charlie’s was the time Roger wanted Charlie himself to autograph one of the pizza boxes from the restaurant. So I was obliged to do so. One day when I was there I asked Charlie to sign the box containing a large pizza. Charlie looked at me funny and I explained. He smiled real big and whipped out a pen and ascribed his John Henry on the top of the box. I took the pie home in its box and showed it to Roger. And of course Roger loved it all and literally kept the box for years, sauce stains and all, in his closet.

Over the many years since then the box disappeared in house moves but the act was not forgotten. A couple of years ago I was in the restaurant and like so many times Charlie, now grey headed, was behind the counter making pies. He took my money and I saw the stacks of empty pizza boxes behind him and asked him if he remembered signing a pizza box several years ago. He paused briefly and said that he did recall doing that with a big grin on his face. I refreshed his memory some more about how it made my son happy. He got a laugh about that and said no one had ever asked him to do that as long as he had been in business.

So an ordinary pizza box was signed and treasured by Roger like an autograph of some famous movie star or actor. That small act of kindness by Charlie teaches us that the star on life’s stage is not always someone famous but instead can be an average person who was very important in the big, bright eyes of a little boy.

Francis Shivone said...

We all hated to see Charlie go. If he were still there we would still be going. Thanks.