New restaurant opens downtown
Published 7:21 pm Friday, March 11, 2016
Charlie Morgan has enjoyed grilling as a hobby for years, a skill learned from his father. Now entering retirement, Morgan is transforming his backyard hobby into a full-time business.
On Thursday, Charlie’s Place on Water Avenue opened its doors to the public for the first time. The restaurant features traditional grill items like burgers, chicken and hot dogs. Salad, fresh-cut fries and marinated coleslaw are home-style sides also included.
Although the menu is currently limited, Morgan said they are hoping to expand in the future and add a bar as the business gets settled.
One specialty item on the menu is Charlie’s Pimento Cheese Burger. It is a six-ounce burger stuffed with pimento cheese topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and Charlie Sauce.
“Everybody says you need to have a sauce,” Morgan said. He described the sauce as “ranch dressing with a kick.”
Morgan said the pimento burger was created from his love of pimento cheese and has proven to be popular so far.
Selma resident Mike Lewis, his mother Ruth, and Snookie Parrish had lunch at the restaurant for the first time on Friday.
“I’m impressed. I think the atmosphere is great, and I think he’s on the right track with the menu,” Lewis said.
The restaurant is nestled on the left side of the ground level of the old Jewish Harmony Club building. Built in 1908, the structure has been owned by David Hurlbut for the past 16 years.
Inside the restaurant is charming and rustic. The menu comprises of an entire wall behind the cashier desk. The wall is painted in chalkboard paint with the menu casually written in chalk. The ceilings and walls have been stripped back to expose beams and brick.
Morgan said the building was chosen because of its history and prime location.
“There are a lot of young professionals who are moving back to town, taking over family businesses or starting businesses, and they have no place to go in the afternoons to relax,” he said. “We want to be that place. I love to cook, and I love being around people.”
It didn’t take long for Morgan to make his dream a reality. In November 2015, he started looking for a space. In less than six months, he was able to secure a location and open for business.
Morgan said the logo has special value to him because his 7-year old granddaughter, Grace, designed it.
“Her original picture is posted on the wall,” Morgan said.
Her drawing can be found on the wall near the front desk.
Lewis said they came out to support the restaurant because Selma needs more locally owned businesses.
“We always love to see local people who have grown up in Selma invest and use their talents to help build up the city. We need more things to do in Selma,” he said. “So we’re pretty excited about it.”
The restaurant is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and then 4:30 – 11 p.m.