I have been a regular at Charlie's for over thirty years. During that time I have lived all around the North Shore, but I always came back to Charlies. Even now, I make the trip from Gloucester! Don't let the neighborhood intimidate you.
Best onion rings, period. Want a real fish sandwitch? Nice piece of deep fried, skin-on, Haddock on a bun? Can't beat Charlie's.
I usually go for the combo plate, clams, scallops, butterflied shrimp and a piece of Haddock sitting in top of krinkle cut fries. Yeah you heard me right, those frozen krinkle cut fries that nobody serves anymore. That is the only thing that might be percieved as negative, but I've come to appreciate thier quirkiness as well.
Charlies uses a two stage process for thier fried food, wheat flour then corn flour, it makes a crispy coating that does not absorb any grease. When your done eating a Charlie's meal, there are no grease spots on the plate! Of couse it has to be consumed right away, don't get it to-go. If you must get it to-go make sure you open the bag a little to let it breath. Oh yeah, and don't forget to substitute onion rings for the cole slaw when you order and bring your wallet, excellent quality is not cheap!
Though the other two reviews note that there is really no sit down, the owner Susan Panagakis has just doubled the size of the establishment, and what a difference it has made too. Previously serving mainly on a take-out and delivery basis, Charlie’s has been expanded into a full scale sit down diner. If one were to walk in before the renovation they would be cramped not only by the hungry customers, but by crammed tables and chairs, a large showcase of fresh seafood, as well as the refrigerator for beverages. Even the back was packed tight with over twenty friallators, the large prep table, mountains of seafood crusted dishes, as well as the three to eleven workers depending on the night. Yet with the new renovation the spot boasts over fifteen tables and booths, as well as a large kitchen where maneuvering around the knives and burning hot grease is much more manageable.
Now apart from the looks the taste is what really counts, and Charlie’s has the reputation to back its menu. Ranging from scrumptious lobster rolls to hearty half chickens, there is something for everyone to try. Haddock sandwiches are among the many favorites, which are packed high with fresh fish battered up to a delicious golden brown. Top it off with cheese and tartar sauce, a side of fries or onion rings; it’s hard to say no. Or one might step up to the plate and go for a combo meal – to finish one of these takes effort. At a first glance it looks like a mountain, over packed with food falling off the sides which give the idea of an avalanche. The base is made up of haddock and French fries to support the rest of the mound. Next comes the shrimp, clams, and scallops piled high to give the stack an intimidating appearance, the type that brings up the question “is is possible to finish all that?” Finally it is topped off with golden rings of onions, creating the peak of the mass. All together, it weighs roughly four pounds. Try and conquer that hill alone.
Quality is just as important as the taste, especially in the seafood business. Everything is made on the spot. The tartar sauce and batter are mixed by hand; coleslaw is prepared and packed in the back. It’s easy to tell when the onion rings are being sliced, as the scent will be quick to make the eyes water. Soups are made by Sue herself, who prepares the broths at home and brings them to the store twice a week. The seafood is always fresh. Seeing as business is always steady, orders are placed every two days for fresh ingredients. That means that at the very worst, that tempting shrimp roll is but a day old.
No Joke... this place is hands down the best fried food on the northshore. I live 10 minutes from the Clam Box in Ipswich, and I still travel 30 minutes to go to this little hole in the wall. Much better fried food... no oily drips, no wet bags, no tiny crispy clams... all nice and soft and golden.. and their fries and onion rings are great!. I can't reccomend it enough. Yes, there are a few tables in side but the BEST is to get take out and go sit down by the beach on a bench and look out into the Atlantic.
Give it a try!!!!!!! You won't be disappointed
When you got a craving for some good fried clams. Nothing is better then Charlies seafood. Everything is made fresh to order they also do things the old fashioned way. You can see them putting everyting in flour and cooking it to order. You can TASTE the difference. Try the Chicken at charlies also. No frozen pre-made chicken allowed at this store!! The chicken fingers, wings and fried chicken pieces are all made on site. No frozen pre-made chicken.
Be aware that this is take out only. There is not sit down area to eat.
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