Charlie's Cafe- Port Canaveral- 4-Stars
"Hole in the wall" --Noun--North American: a small dingy place, especially a bar or restaurant.
If you travel and are in an unfamiliar locale and want the best food around, you ask a local and nine times out of ten, they will send you to a hole in the wall a few streets over. These small, off the tourist path places, generally speaking, do offer the best of the local cuisine. Knowing this as I do, I wasn't all that disheartened when I pulled up to Charlie's Cafe in Port Canaveral. Tucked behind A1A off of mullet road is where you will find this treasured dive of a hash-house. From the brightly colored sign welcoming you over the door to the brightly lit interior, this place wasn't so much on the dingy side as it was on the small side. Very small.
I was warmly greeted as I entered by Sandjay. She was getting my drink as she was seating me. No joke. Now that is what I call service! Talk about a professional at the top of their game, Sandjay was all over that like defense in the last Superbowl. While I did find the TV to be blaring at a deafening volume, this place certainly had a lot of charm. I asked Sandjay if I could get one order of the Meat Lovers Omelet and one Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich.
As I was stuffing more cotton in my ears to try to stem the bleeding from my pierced eardrums, I took a gander about the place and notice one of the biggest dudes I have ever seen slingin' the slop in the kitchen. This turned out to be none other than the man, Charlie, himself. He's a large man and cooks the way he eats (at least I'm guessing) as the portions were extremely generous. Stuffed with the trifecta of pork breakfast meats (bacon, ham and sausage) the Meat Lover's omelet was bursting with flavor. There was actually more meat than there was egg. The home fries are hand cut, cooked perfectly and loaded with savory morning goodness. Sadly, the biscuits were not made on site, but rather the plug and play variety, but hey, the rest of the meal was spectacular and as Charlie is a rather robust man, I'll let this slide.
The Triple Decker Turkey Club Sandwich was made with, wait for it, real honest to Thanksgiving turkey breast. You won't find any of that sliced, chopped, pressed and injected with flavoring crap coming out of Charlie's kitchen. No way. No how. Add to the real oven roasted turkey breast some smoked bacon and that's all she wrote for me! The only let down here, as with the previously mentioned biscuits, was the fact that Charlie still seems to be stuck in a kitchen from his youth and uses iceberg lettuce on the sandwiches. There are so many choices of lettuce with actual flavor these days (Bibb, Romaine, Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Boston, Butter...the list is practically endless), I don't understand why anyone that obviously cares about the food coming out of the place with his name on it would stick to iceberg.
Regardless, this place was great from the amazing service to the tasty eats. When you least expect it and you let your guard down you stumble on a tiny hole in the wall like this that really delivers quality food.
The Big Boy says, "Eat where the locals eat, they know what's up." #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout