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CHARLES PETROSSI SR.
“It was a bourbon man’s place to drink…
Old-fashioned was a big drink,
or just bourbon on the rocks.
 Back in those days when I first started drinking,
  I would go with my mom and dad and they
 would have Early Times. Remember Early Times?
   Nobody heard about Jack Daniels and stuff like that.”



GENE AND MATTHEW DWYER
 
CHARLIE'S STEAK HOUSE WAS OPENED IN 1932.

 CHARLIE PETROSSI AND HIS FAMILY RAN THE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT  FOR THREE GENERATIONS.  THEIR SIZZLING STEAKS AND UNIQUE STYLE OF SERVICE HELPED CHARLIE'S BECOME ONE OF NEW ORLEANS' FAVORITE TRADITIONS. 

THERE'S NOTHING FANCY AT CHARLIE'S, JUST A GREAT STEAK,
 A COLD DRINK, AND A GOOD TIME.  YOU DON'T ASK FOR A MENU AT CHARLIE'S UNLESS IT'S YOUR FIRST TIME, AND THAT'S WHEN EVERYBODY LAUGHS AT YOU. THERE IS NO MENU,  JUST TELL YOUR WAITER THE  SIZE AND HOW YOU WOULD LIKE IT COOKED.   OH, AND WHEN IT ARRIVES, HOLD YOUR NAPKIN UP IN FRONT OF YOU SO THE SPATTERING GREASE DOESN'T RUIN YOUR SHIRT. 

 SERVICE AT CHARLIE'S HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BIT UNIQUE. MOST OF THE TIME YOUR WAITER TOLD YOU WHAT YOU WERE HAVING,
NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. THIS WORKED OUT WELL SINCE THERE WAS NO MENU.  INEXPERIENCED DINERS HAVE OFTEN BEEN LEFT WITH A " WHAT JUST HAPPENED ? "  LOOK ON THEIR FACE AFTER ORDERING.   SOMETIMES A REGULAR CUSTOMER'S FOOD WOULD SHOW UP BEFORE THEY EVEN KNEW THEY HAD ORDERED.  THERE WAS  LOTS OF HUMOR, MOSTLY DEADPAN AND DRY WIT,  ONE LINERS BOUNCING BACK AND FORTH WITH SOME SARCASM AND A SHORT QUIP,
 AND THE FREQUENT PRACTICAL JOKE.

 ALL OF THE STAFF WERE LIKE PART OF  CHARLIE'S FAMILY. 
 MANY REMAINED EMPLOYED AT THE RESTAURANT FOR YEARS INCLUDING CHARLIE'S DAUGHTER, DOTTYE BENNETT,  WHO STARTED IN 1952 AND WORKED THERE ALL THE WAY TIL 2005.   SHE KNEW ALL OF THE CUSTOMERS AND TREATED THEM SPECIAL. EVERYONE WAS "SWEETIE" TO HER.  THEY CAME BACK JUST TO SEE MISS DOTTYE,  NEVER MIND THE STEAK AND POTATOES AU GRATIN.  SHE'S 82 NOW AND DOING WELL, SHE STILL VOLUNTEERS AT THE HOSPITAL AND LOVES TO GO BOWLING.

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MISS DOTTYE                  CHARLES "SONNY" PETROSSI JR.

MISS DOTTYE'S BROTHER SONNY TOOK THE REINS FROM CHARLIE IN 1976 AND CONTINUED THE TRADITIONS UNTIL 2003. SONNY'S WIFE ELLEN THEN TOOK OVER AND RAN CHARLIE'S UNTIL THE INFAMOUS STORM HIT.
 THE RESTAURANT REMAINED CLOSED  FOR 3 YEARS.
   PEOPLE IN NEW ORLEANS WERE VERY SAD
 TO SEE CHARLIE'S HAD NOT RE-OPENED.

   THE MOST DISAPPOINTED WAS MATTHEW DWYER,  A YOUNG MAN WHO HAD BEEN LIVING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS.  HE COULD NOT STAND THE THOUGHT OF LIVING WITHOUT CHARLIE'S POTATOES AU GRATIN.   MATTHEW HAD WORKED AS THE BARTENDER AT CHARLIE'S EVEN THOUGH THEY NEVER REALLY HAD ONE.  WHEN THEY GOT BUSY, THEY  JUST RAN NEXT DOOR AND ASKED HIM TO COME MIX SOME DRINKS.   HE HAD A GREAT TIME AND FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PLACE.
 
AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA,  MISS ELLEN HAD SOME DIFFICULTY IN TRYING TO RE-OPEN THE RESTAURANT.  SHE WAS  RELUCTANT TO SELL THE BUSINESS THAT HAD BEEN IN HER FAMILY FOR SO LONG, BUT SHE FINALLY REALIZED SHE COULD NOT CHOOSE A BETTER PERSON TO TAKE OVER AND RENEW THE TRADITIONS OF CHARLIE'S.
 MATTHEW AND HIS FATHER PURCHASED THE RESTAURANT IN 2007
 AND BEGAN THE PROCESS OF RESTORING THIS GREAT PIECE
OF NEW ORLEANS' HISTORY


THE TRADITION CONTINUES . . .