UPDATE: That 27th date didn’t happen, but Charlie’s sent word it will open “soon.” Stand by.
A quintessential Broadway establishment is back from the dead. Charlie's, the Capitol Hill bar and grill that had been open for nearly 40 years, will reopen on November 27 thanks to new owners Kelli Kreiter, Ben Rhodes, and Shawn Roten, who have breathed life back into the all-American, breakfast and late-night hotspot.
Kreiter, who has a background in architecture with a passion for historical buildings, Rhodes with years of restaurant experience, and Roten, the guy behind the rapidly expanding Lodge Sports Grille acquired the beloved restaurant during Charlie's closing week back in June of this year. "We just walked into the space and just couldn't change it," says Kreiter. "It was just rich in history, character, and quirkiness, and we wanted to preserve it, restore it."
The interiors will be refreshed, floors redone, and familiar elements like the stained glass repurposed slightly, so the new Charlie's should seem familiar to those who have long known the Broadway icon. Kreiter will oversee day-to-day activity at the restaurant when opened.
Rhodes, the culinary visionary, has been working on recipe development for that essential all-day breakfast menu and lineup of home-style comfort food. The menu has been downsized, refined a bit, but it retains plenty of Charlie's roots. Rhodes is particularly focused on breakfast—"We want to make sure, from the homemade biscuits, to the fresh hollandaise, to awesome pancakes, we're a breakfast destination at any time of the day." Although the Philadelphia pepper pot soup won't make its way back on the menu, the cheese sticks that inspire internet devotion will remain.
The three co-owners worked closely with Ken Bauer, the previous proprietor, to keep the brand alive. Some aspects will change, but the decor will stay the same, booths and bar still intact along with the inviting atmosphere. "It's not something we're leading from a distance, we're hands on, in there hanging out... It's a very friendly atmosphere because that was one of the main things Charlie's was so great at before," Kreiter says.
Reminisce and welcome the new Charlie's the day after Thanksgiving, and look out for Bauer's forthcoming cookbook where the legendary Philadelphia pepper pot soup will live once again.