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Tuesday, 11 December, 2007 8:04 PM
Charley's Deli Grille is a local gem in Northville Township
Charley’s Deli Grille is a full-service family restaurant nestled in the corner of the CVS plaza at Six Mile and Haggerty roads in Northville Township. The restaurant, which opened in November 1995, has won numerous awards and accolades including best inexpensive restaurant, best breakfast restaurant, best sandwiches, best coffee and best gathering place.
Charley Martha and his brother George Martha own and operate the establishment. The family restaurant is tucked away in the corner of a strip mall on the border of Livonia and Northville Township. If you’re driving along Haggerty road and you blink you’re eye, you could miss it. This local gem has been serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner to its customers for more than a decade.
“Independence. Control of your destiny,” said Charley Martha as he describes his inspiration for opening a restaurant. “We met as a family.”
Charley’s features cold and hot subs, pita rolls, salads, soups, sides and desserts. The family-style restaurant also offers a dinner menu featuring chicken kabob, chicken tenders, shrimp, spaghetti with meat sauce (Wednesday’s only) and fish and chips (Friday’s only). Kid’s meals are also offered at the restaurant. There is also a breakfast menu and an extensive list of coffee drinks. New menu additions include waffles, a chicken wrap, chicken kabobs and corned beef hash.
The restaurant offers a large variety of soups. On a daily basis, customers can order chicken noodle, spinach tomato and chili. “We rotate a new one in everyday,” the owner said.
Charley’s also features Pepsi products. “McDonald’s had Coke,” he said. “We didn’t want to be like them. Price is always a factor. We looked at both of them. Coke came in a few times to try and get us to switch.”
The deli grille opened way before Haggerty Road became increasingly popular. Why did the family decide on a deli-style restaurant? “There was a lot of stuff around from my general knowledge,” Martha said. “We started doing pitas and breakfast. Coffee was emerging.”
In 2005, the family came together once again to make another business decision. The restaurant was too small to effectively serve its customers during lunch rush and on Sundays. The Martha Family went to the Northville Township board of trustees for permission to expand the size of their restaurant. “We looked into it and found out we could do it,” the owner said.
Charley’s Deli Grille is a popular place to find Detroit area celebrities. Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, former Red Wing Gordie Howe, current Detroit Lions Kevin Jones and Boss Bailey have all ate at the restaurant. In addition, former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn, former Detroit Tigers manager Alan Trammel, NASCAR car owner Jack Roush and Governor Jennifer Granholm have all dined at Charley’s Deli Grille.
Although he wouldn’t give us any sales figures, Martha did confirm that sales are “about the same as last year.” The most popular sellers at the restaurant include the steak and cheese sub, chicken kabob and the turkey pita. “Falafel is a good seller,” he added.
Prices of the food items at the restaurant have gone up slightly over the last few years. The owner said it’s due to many reasons such as the suppliers, taxes and the price of gasoline. “We try to stay competitive,” Martha said.
Charley’s Deli Grille was one of the first restaurants to be located along Haggerty Road which has become a restaurant row. More than two dozen restaurants are located on both sides of the road from Six Mile Road to just north of Eight Mile Road. When Charley’s opened its doors, its only close competitor was McDonald’s.
“We’ve been pretty steady,” the owner said. “We’ve added a couple of things here and there. Everybody’s opened since we’ve been here.”
Charley’s Deli Grille is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Sunday, the restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Charley’s is busiest during breakfast, lunch and anytime on weekends.
Why should people eat at the Northville Township restaurant? “We have a nice, good variety,” Martha said. “A lot of stuff is made here. We keep it clean. We keep our prices reasonable.”
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