Charlie the Butcher’s (Williamsville, NY)

While returning from our Christmas vacation, we again passed through the Buffalo area around lunchtime, making it pretty much obligatory that we stop and try one of the classis Buffalo foodstuffs. After debating the relative merits of Buffalo wings, Ted’s Hot Dogs, and Beef-on-weck, we decided to do the last of these, and picked Charlie the Butcher’s since it’s quite close to the Thruway.

Charlie’s is one of the places that has a reputation as being a good place for Beef-on-weck. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a fairly Buffalo-specific food: roast beef and horseradish piled on a crusty roll resembling a kaiser roll, but topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds. Overall, the concept is very good, since the soft interior of the roll soaks up juices from the beef, while the crust keeps the juice in the sandwich and not on your hands, and the salt and caraway add a bit of flavor (although the folklore is that the salt is there to make you thirsty for more beer…). Many folks consider Schwabl’s in West Seneca to be the classic source for a good beef-on-weck, but Charlie’s makes several people’s short lists, so I decided to give it a try. So I opted for a beef-on-weck, fries, and a Pepsi (the last of these a major tactical error, since I realized later that they had birch beer…)

My beef-on-weck was quite good. It was thoroughly juicy and flavorful beef, with a rather crusty kummelweck roll, and some nice fresh horseradish to boot. Definitely a sold performer for beef-on-weck, although compared to other places I’ve been, the sandwich was less substantial and a bit overpriced. The fries were quite good as well, nicely crisped outside, and fluffy inside. The soup was a bit salty (which is hard to notice after the beef-on-weck), but otherwise good.

Overall, a nicely pleasant beef-on-weck, especially if looking for a place convenient to the Thruway.

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