When it comes to new restaurants on the block, Del Ray diners need to know only one thing: Charlie is coming.
The erstwhile Fireflies restaurant space at the corner of Mount Vernon and Nelson avenues won’t be quiet for long. Taking its place — and changing its face — will be Charlie’s on the Avenue, a neighborhood sports pub from the owners of the nearby Live Oak Restaurant.
“I hate to say the words ‘sports bar’ because I think there’s a bad stigma that goes with that,” lamented co-owner Jeremy Barber. But his goal for Charlie’s is to be “one of those places you can go into and always feel at home. … We want to create a family atmosphere and environment.”
And unlike Barber’s original restaurant, Live Oak, Charlie’s menu will contour to fit the new theme.
“Charlie’s is not a Southern restaurant. … We may have some of our (Live Oak) staples that people really enjoy — fried chicken, pulled pork, things like that — but it’s a different style,” he said.
To that end, expect the likes of Cuban sandwiches, chicken parmesan subs, spaghetti and meatballs, as well as smoked baked and fried chicken wings and baby-back ribs. And Barber’s team is just getting warmed up.
Charlie’s will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner to start; once the restaurant gets rolling, Barber and team will see about breakfast or brunch offerings. And if you’re worried about too much pub fare for lunch, rest easy; Charlie’s will offer up some lighter options such as build-your-own salads and sandwiches.
Visitors to the now-defunct Fireflies will see some changes to the space once Charlie’s opens. The kitchen will remain largely intact — save for a few facelifts with the new team’s own equipment — but the dining room and patio will enjoy some changes. Charlie’s will sport a larger bar, a new dining room décor and a renovated patio space, Barber said.
And – perhaps most pressing – who, precisely, is Charlie?
“It’s named after many people, but most importantly it’s named after my grandfather. My grandfather was the best guy I’ve ever known,” Barber said, so much so that one of his daughters is named after him too.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.