RIDLEY TOWNSHIP— Charlie’s Hamburgers isn’t slowing down at its new location in Folsom.
The hamburger institution has been sitting firm in a small shopping strip at 237 E. MacDade Blvd. since April when owner Tim Blackburn bought the business out from his stepfather, Steve McDonald. McDonald had been involved with the business for more than 50 years, including the last 30 when Charlie’s was located on Kedron Avenue in the same section of the township just about a mile away.
“Business has been very good,” said Blackburn, 28, who is the latest to take the reins of the over 80-year-old business after serving as a manager for the past three years. “When we first moved we were so busy we had a line out the door the whole day.”
Customers have been gobbling up the same hamburger recipe that has created generations of fans over the decades. Blackburn said the food, and particularly the hamburgers, have not changed with the move. Employees still spend three hours daily to prep the pans of hamburger patties that will be used for each business day.
The one noticeable addition to the menu is a constant companion to the burger: the French fry. According to Blackburn, there was not enough space in the former location to accommodate the necessary storage to include fries on the menu.
Since 1986, Charlie’s occupied a small building that had a large open window people could eat at and look out at passing cars on Academy Avenue. Ordering was no frills as there was no point-of-sale system to look after. Customers would slide down the grill speaking with the cooks and telling them their orders.
“The cooks would have to remember every order that was given,” said Blackburn. Now, that has been updated in the new location, noticeably allowing customers to pay for their order upfront instead of at the end of the cooking line. “Unfortunately, the times don’t really allow that setup to be functional anymore,” Blackburn added about the antiquated system.
Blackburn wanted Charlie’s to stay in Ridley, and an overwhelming majority of the employees live in the township. He said it took at least nine months to find the appropriate new site, which was a former sandwich shop. All of the equipment and recipes came with the move, adding more seating on top of it.
What they couldn’t take with them is the memories people had at the last spot.
“It’s a fixture of the township, of generations of people coming here and sharing memories here. That’s what a lot of people are actually upset about, the loss of the memories,” said Blackburn. “I’m looking forward to making new memories with new customers.”