South End landmark, Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, closes its doors - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe closes its doors

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BOSTON (WHDH) - After serving customers in Boston's South End for 87 years, Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe closed its doors for good Saturday.

Owner Arthur Manjourides, who has worked at Charlie's for 61 years, and his siblings were honored by the state House of Representatives.

"It's like a wake, a living wake but I still have to cook for the customers," said Manjourides, who simply wanted to retire.

People were lined up outside Saturday, eager to have their last meals at Charlie's before it closed at 1:00 p.m.

The restaurant opened in 1927 and has had both loyal customers and special visitors over the years, including President Obama and Mark Wahlberg. Charlie's has hosted marriage proposals and weddings, serving as a marker for life's chapters.

"They tell us what's going on in their lives. As soon as a baby is born, they bring them in here," Manjourides said. "We've had divorces--they come in, they tell you they just got divorced--we've had people meet people in here, and they get married. It's like Match.com in there."

Nancy Hughes first came into the restaurant in 1989 and ate there every morning when she taught down the street.

"I didn't want to come today because I hate saying goodbye, so I'm not going to say goodbye. I'm going to say so long," Hughes said.

Charlie's also tells a city's history. It hosted African-American musicians like Sammy Davis Jr. when most restaurants wouldn't allow them in.

"Top entertainers like Duke Ellington and the band. They would play at a hotel, but they wouldn't be allowed to eat there so they would all come in here and eat," Manjourides said.

To this day, a telegram from Ellington hangs on the wall saying he'll be back in on Saturday.
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