Well situated for an impatient appetite arriving at the Buffalo Airport, Charlie the Butcher is an essential stop for anyone who wants to sample the Nickel City’s unique sandwich, “beef on weck.” Slow-roasted beef, tender and pink, is thin-sliced (to order) and piled on a hard roll that is crusted with pretzel salt and caraway seeds. The top half of the roll gets dipped briefly in beef au jus. The sandwich is served with only a pickle spear as garnish, although many customers slather it with eye-opening horseradish.
It’s a no-frills restaurant. Place your order at the front window with its fabulous view of the carving block, then pay and find a seat at the low-low counter or a table topped with oilcloth. All seats provide a nice view of the kitchen, where you’ll see Charlie himself, with a large staff of accomplished helpmates, slicing cabbage, tending soups, and cutting beef. Sandwiches are served in cardboard boats; and it’s customary to bus your own table.
Charlie’s menu extends beyond beef on weck; and everything else we’ve sampled is first rate: Buffalo-made hot dogs and sausages grilled over coals, chicken spiedie (a boneless breast that is marinated and grilled), and such daily-special sandwiches as meat loaf and double-smoked ham. The beverage list includes the local favorite, Loganberry, as well as Charlie’s personal favorite, Birch Beer.