Do you remember when restaurants used to throw food in your face? True "All-you-can-eat" establishments? I loved the all-you-can-eat shrimp and salad bar at Beefsteak Charlie's. We used to go to the Danbury, Westport, and Enfield locations, and I also loved the flagship restaurant in New York City.

WRKI and WINE logo
Get our free mobile app

Beefsteak Charlie's was a chain restaurant, concentrated in the New York City Metropolitan area, that lasted almost 100 years, from 1910 to around 2001-02. At their peak, over 60 Beefsteak Charlie's restaurants were serving up their signature all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktail and salad bar, and for the adults, unlimited beer, wine, and sangria. I found a vintage Beefsteak Charlie's matchbook on Ebay, with one of their famous slogans - "I'll feed you like there's no tomorrow."

Can you imagine that concept in 2022? Shrimp cocktail, salad bar, wine, beer, and sangria - unlimited, all you can eat? I spent weeks peeling the shells off those shrimp and eating blue cheese-topped salads. It was easy to laugh off a terrible cut of steak when you could literally drink and eat yourself silly.

I don't remember my dad getting too loaded off of the free beer, it was the house draught from what I can recall, they weren't serving you pitchers of Heineken or Bud Light. I remember going to the Beefsteak Charlie's in Times Square after I had turned 21. I used to get a carafe of beer first, then switch over to the house red when the steak came out. I was way more into the endless shrimp.

What happened to Beefsteak Charlie's? Bad business mergers. The company was bought a couple of times in the mid 80's, and slowly faded away in the 90's. There have been a couple of attempts to revive the brand, most recently in 2009 on Long Island, but I still think about that huge bowl of shrimp on ice.

A Starter Pack For New Residents of Connecticut

Welcome to: The Constitution State, The Nutmeg State, The Provisions State, and The Land of Steady Habits. You know us as Connecticut. If you just moved here, it may seem strange. I've lived here for over a half a century, I'd love to make your transition easier. Here's a 'Starter Pack' - A few essential items and bits of knowledge that I think will make it easier fitting in here in Connecticut.

10 of the Best Waterfalls in Connecticut

7 of the Best Family Beaches in New England

More From WRKI and WINE