Aiello's Charr Has Got the Goods But Needs to Kick Up the Seasoning

Categories: First Taste

Get This: House made onion rings.
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Charr
Location: 777 East Thunderbird Road
Open: About a week
Eats: Burgers, salads, and sandwiches
Price Point: $11 to $30

If there were a year for husband-and-wife team and ex-Manhattanites Joe and Myrah Aiello, 2012 may be it. In addition to recently closing their namesake restaurant, Aiello's East Coast Italian Dining, and searching for a new spot in which to re-open it (possibly in the One Lexington building in midtown), the two have been quietly taking over a strip mall in restaurant-poor Moon Valley. First, with Aiello's Salumeria, then next door Isa's Pizza, and finally Charr, the nothing-Italian-about-it American burger bar that opened last week.

The Phoenix burger.
Charr's menu is decidedly all-American along with a seafood bar of oysters, clams, and shrimp. The tidy menu includes starters, salads, seven kinds of burgers, and five grilled sandwich selections. And a solid selection of wine, beer, and cocktails is available for those who wish to indulge.

Charred garlic chili glazed chicken wings.
Six charred garlic chili glazed chicken wings ($9) were tender and boasted quality meat, but they were overly sweet and missing the spiciness I was hoping for. Much better are the housemade onion rings ($6). Lightly breaded, crispy, and with bright, sweet onion in every bite, they were satisfying but could have used a few shakes of salt to enhance the flavor.

Although recommended by my friendly and helpful server, Charr's Steak & Blue sandwich ($12) sounds better on paper than what it ultimately delivers. Overly packed with unmanageable pieces of well-prepared yet under-seasoned chunks of flat iron steak, it was a difficult to eat bread and meat affair, with barely there blue cheese, mushrooms, and caramelized onions unable to assist in the sandwich's overall flavor or uniqueness. Frequent utilization of the accompanying horseradish mayo helped, but not much.

Steak & Blue sandwich.
And like the sandwich, the Black Angus chuck patty on my burger called The Phoenix ($11), was of good quality and prepared to my specifications, but again, under-seasoned. Too bad, given its roasted green chile, pillow-y garlic knot bun, and stellar slice of cheddar.

The amount of TVs in the bar and dining area could make the atmosphere of Charr border on sports bar, but with its bistro lights and family friendly interior, that decision is up to its customers. Charr might not be the out-of-the-gate success its sister restaurant Isa's Pizza was when it first opened, but the quality ingredients are there. And with some extra kicks from the kitchen in the area of seasoning, Charr's could be Moon Valley's new favorite burger joint.

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Location Info

Charr an American Burger Bar

777 E. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

We went there a week ago for dinner on a Thursday night. Okay atmosphere. Okay burgers. Not great  and definitely not worth the price with no side. Won't be going back.


I have eaten at Charr twice, and think they have a good thing going with the burgers (the garlic knot bun is tasty, I didn't really notice a lack of seasoning). The sweet potato fries are decent, but still a better option than the truffle fries (unless you like your fries extra crispy). I tried the wings yesterday, and while they were tasty, are nowhere near worth $9 for a mere six wings. They really need to double the wing count for that price. The burgers could have a dollar or two knocked off the price, as they're not 'huge' burgers. I had dinner by myself at Charr last week, and a Phoenix burger with one added topping, sweet potato fries, and a pinto of Hop Notch IPA came to $25..kinda steep! The tap selection is decent, although $5.50/pint adds up, especially when they don't have a happy hour discount. I would like to see Charr succeed, but they are charging Delux prices (the sweet potato fries were $6), but not quite at the level of Delux's food.

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