One of the young meat cutters offered that Charlie’s down in Violet puts out a good po boy so we took him at his word, hopped in the old Econoline, and motored the 10 minutes down St Bernard highway to see for ourselves.
We fantasize that upon walking in we’ll be blasted with the sound of Violet’s favorite son Eldridge Holmes but our dreams are for naught. Holmes has been dead for nearly 20 years, and we doubt that he’s ever gotten much airplay inside Charlie’s.The menu is page after page after page of Cajun and Creole classics like panneed veal cutlets, shrimp and crab mirliton casserole, char-broiled oysters, muffalettas, and barbecue shrimp.
A full page is devoted to po boys.
22 different types are on offer, and New Orleans pricing is not in effect. February is the heart of oyster season in Louisiana, and we’re angling for an oyster po boy but our waitress is not having it. “We’re famous for mama’s roast beef and that’s what you should have” she emphatically states leaving us little option.Indeed, after a few minutes wait we’re on the business end of one of the best po boys of our our entire series. We’re not sure who mama is (and emails to the home office of Charlie’s were ignored) but whoever authored this sandwich slows a slow and steady hand on the range. The beef is a rich luxury. The gravy ripe with both Maggi and garlic. The sauce is silken and rich and embraces the shreds and hunks of beef like Allen Toussaint’s Rolls Royce passenger seat gripped the buns of Eldridge Holmes in the 1960s. The interior of Charlie’s is a wild, near psychedelic take on St Bernard Parish living. A giant, luridly colored cock takes up a vast swath of real estate on one wall while paintings of nutria rats, pelicans, gators and swamps occupy others. If any of our readers favor taking LSD while dining out you may want to investigate Charlie’s neo-outsider art bedecked walls.
Service is attentive and unobtrusive. Our waitress is a sunny-dispositioned lass well-skilled in the art of service. Our tab comes to just north of $6 for a po boy that would easily cost $15 in New Orleans.If you favor a quick gamble, pre or post-prandial, then you’re in luck as a small gaming room sits off to the side of the main dining hall. The old location of Charlie’s Restaurant in Violet was washed away by Hurricane Katrina. The Blanchard family did not let that tragedy bring them to their knees however. They found an old movie house right up the road and regrouped into the thriving cafe that you’ll find today just downriver from the big city of New Orleans.
Address: 6129 E St Bernard Hwy, Violet, LA 70092
Phone: (504) 682-9057
Hours of operation
Violet Louisiana is approximately 15-20 minutes from New Orleans proper. Take St Claude Avenue from the 9th Ward heading east and you’ll be there soon enough.