Cheap Eats: Feel festive at Char Broil Family Restaurant
05:00 AM, Dec 29, 2012
It’s been years since I put up a Christmas tree, and this season I didn’t even bother hanging the half dozen ornaments I own along the windowsill. We are never at our house on Christmas, so we let others do the decorating we end up copping the holiday feel everywhere but home. I don’t even have any holiday sweaters or jewelry. Lame.
If I’m a goldbrick of holiday decorating, then the gals who wait tables at the Char Broil Family Restaurant in Brighton are holiday overachievers. Their seasonal “uniforms” and the abode they work in more than compensate for my fashion and decorating ineptitude.
“On the weekends, I light up literally and sing,” says Lisa Letzin, wearing a red stocking hat and shirt with the many faces of the Grinch. Nikki Gunda was already ringing and glowing with jingling antlers on her head and a sparkly bow-tied Hello Kitty T-shirt.
The busy diner also had holiday spirit in all the right spots. A reindeer perched on the rotating pie case, and banners wishing the counter guy regulars both a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.
(I know, Hanukkah is over and so is Christmas, but the holidays aren’t really over until the credit card bills start to trickle in next month.)
Even without the holiday gear, the Char Broil was looking pretty spiffy since my last visit several years ago. The Tette family, who took over the Brighton institution 13 years ago, did a total makeover, installing new booths, tables, contemporary light fixtures and facade. The color scheme is a blue-beige-tan. The restaurant is now fully handicapped-accessible.
The foyer is especially stylish, with slender trees flanking a Mission-style bench.
“It was getting rundown. We didn’t realize how much remodeling would change things. It definitely brought customers back,” says Michael Tette, who runs the restaurant with his brother, Shawn, and father, Tom. “We are the only non-Greeks who run a diner in this town.”
A few menu changes also brought out the Saturday night prime rib lovers.
I can’t speak for lunch or dinner, since I was entirely focused on breakfast. Coffee ($1.50) came faster than air a good thing since I arrived dangerously decaffeinated.
The Nova lox platter ($7.45) feels like Sunday brunch on a Tuesday: toasted bagel, smoked salmon, capers, lettuce and tomatoes with plenty of cream cheese and butter. I wish I had brought The New York Times sections I didn’t get to over the weekend.
I also had a cool, tall sundae glass full of fresh fruit ($2.90).
Health-conscious diners can opt for a breakfast parfait with yogurt, granola, blueberries and bananas ($4.50). Budget diners can’t go wrong with the two eggs and toast for $3.70. Big appetites have the Brighton special of steak, eggs, home fries and rye toast for $7.50.
Yes, you can get pancakes and French toast. Of course, omelets. Sorry, no waffles.