Charlee’s Restaurant and Lounge

January15

I grew up in East Kildonan.  Most of my family have homes in the neighbourhood and our Mom lives in a personal care home there.  As a result, I make the drive to EK many times in a month.  I have a certain route that I take which I consider a short cut.  My path takes me down Stadacona Ave. and I have never made note of Charlee’s Restaurant and Lounge location before.  But my Brother D, who I was meeting for lunch had been there and recommended it.

Upon entering I was struck by the sleek interior (“sleek” that is for a strip mall in a somewhat industrial neighbourhood).  There were black and white photos of Elmwood streets adorning the wall and sunlight streaming in through a bank of floor to ceiling windows, creating a comfortable neighbourhood atmosphere.

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The day was a chilly one so we warmed up by sharing a bowl of Chicken Pot Pie Soup.  Huge chunks of chicken, potato and carrot had been simmered in a creamy broth with crouton- like-squares of pastry floating on top.   I was hesitant upon seeing the unusual twist on the special’s board but Charlie Villapando who is the owner and executive chef, completely pulled it off!

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We selected two lunches to share (being brother and sister we have eaten off each other’s plates all our lives).  Firstly, a Bacon and Peppercorn burger where a tender juicy patty was topped with so much crispy bacon that it fell out of the bun every time we took a bite.  The savoury peppercorn sauce was fairly subtle but absolutely perfect.

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We read on the menu that Charlee’s Chicken Tenders were the real deal.  Having been on the restaurant scene since the early 1990s when chicken fingers made their first appearance. This came about as a result of processors and restaurants needing a use for the “tenderloin” that remains when a chicken breast is attractively trimmed.   Ironically, the finger food became so popular that tenderloins are sometimes more expensive than the breast itself and as a result, chicken fingers have been pulled from many menus. They are still featured on Charlee’s menu and are as good as the “old school” appetizer that I remember.

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Both the cole slaw and Caesar salad were quite good as well.  I am somewhat baffled by the choice of frozen French fries when so many items are made from scratch but I am sure that Owner/Exec Chef Charlie has a very sound reason. I spied many excuses to make a return visit including perogies and kielbasa at dinner and Filipino breakfast.

Charlee's Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Yes, I’ll have a non-fat, decaf latte, please. Oh, what the hell? Look, make it a full-fat mocha with extra whipped cream. What the hell, put a slice of bacon on it!”-Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer

snow heartsLive simply, laugh often, love deeply.


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