“Eat it and beat it.”
With that provocative motto emblazoned on its sign, the new Clearwater Charlie’s in Bellmore certainly commands your attention.
The philosophy behind the place, said manager Peter Demirakos, is that most people are too busy to wait for restaurant service; also, eating out can get expensive. Demirakos, whose brother, Louie, owns the eatery, said his late father, Charlie, used to dream about opening an inexpensive “quick serve casual” restaurant in Clearwater, Florida, where he lived. Now, his sons are making it happen – only in Bellmore.
The place is steps from the Long Island Rail Road station. I stopped in for a quick lunch and was impressed by a trio of fish tacos (on soft corn tortillas, topped with avocado and slaw) for only $4.85. A lobster roll ($9.95) featured a fresh (if over-chilled) lobster salad made with just the right amount of mayo (hardly any) and some chopped celery. But, please, somebody ... lose the iceberg lettuce lining the toasted bun. A lobster roll should be served naked and proud.
Also on the menu: burgers ($4.75), foot-long hot dogs (beef, vegetable or turkey; $3.75) and such sandwiches as pulled chicken ($6.75), a catfish Ruben ($6.85) and gyro ($6.85)
Clearwater Charlie’s is at 216 Pettit Ave., Bellmore, 516-679-CHAR (2427).
Above: Fish tacos