Cheap Charlie’s – Fort Gratiot – Michigan

Taking advantage of good foodie suggestions, I find myself at Cheap Charlie’s surveying a reasonably priced and overwhelming menu full of salads, soups, pastas, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers that are so in abundant, it’s hard to make a decision, unless I came in with a hankering. I narrow my choices by cancelling out what I don’t want, then imagine myself eating either a burger or pulled pork? I wait for the waitress to take our order and make a split decision going with my gut, as my friend orders nachos. Now, I can breathe, I have made a major decision and I don’t look back, actually can’t, the waitress took our menus.

We gander at our interesting and inventive surroundings, my friend spots a pipe menu stand at our table and comments on it; leaning in to touch it, it inspires me to talk about a project with plumber pipes. Our conversation is disrupted by an announcement by staff and the entourage behind him begins clapping and singing. My friend and I look at each other; I briefly wonder what he’s thinking before our disrupted conversation begins again.

Our food arrives, his nachos look delicious and I am surprised by how large of a plate it’s on. I examine his dish before purposely saying the ingredients wrong, jalop-annose (jalapenos), nakos (nachos), my friend takes a stab at the game, we both laugh. I look away to examine my own dish, immediately pulling off the bun to comb slaw onto the sandwich before reassembling, and smashing the buns together. Pulled pork and slaw oozes out all sides, as I take a bite letting the flavor rest on my tongue for a moment. My friend picks at his nachos realizing there are too many jalapenos on it and makes a mental note for next time. He offers them to me, I stab two on to my fork, add them to my sandwich and take another bite enjoying the immersion of slaw, pork, and jalapeno, as we start conversation again. A few minutes into our meal another announcement comes from staff and the clapping begins. My friend looks at me slightly annoyed and says, “again?” I can’t help but smile at his comment and the environment we have found ourselves in.

Toward the end of our meal, a third announcement is made. I’m thinking, seriously, yet I am humored by this ritual as I pick at my french fries and my friend polishes off his nachos. I’m hopeful for another trip to Cheap Charlie’s to try another wonderful dish on the abundant menu.


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