Chopstick Charley’s Restaurant Review (may God have mercy on my soul)

Yep, I went here. Yes, I should be committed to an asylum. I can honestly say that I have seen what death is and I’ve walked away from it. I looked it square in the eye and gave it the bird. You don’t scare me food poisoning, Shigellosis, orBacillus cereus Let me tell you how this all started. I was surfing the web while at work, what else am I supposed to do? And I came across an article on Metro Jax saying this about Chopstick Charley’s “It is by far the best Chinese in town for the price” Let me just say this, you’re full of shit Metro Jax. What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you do this to your readers? Was this a prank? If so, my colon doesn’t think this is one bit funny. At the bottom of this review is a video of every single picture I took, you will want to watch that, I promise.

Chopstick Charley's Restaurant Review 1 Worst Restaurant in Jacksonville 1
4424 Phillips Hwy
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 731-1528

Location: Maybe you’re like me and have driven by this for years thinking it was an abandoned building? It’s right by the Walmart on Philips Hwy between Emerson and University Blvd.

Food: Let me go over the food first before I get into the nitty gritty about the lack of cleanliness and just the overall creepiness that is Chopstick Charley’s. I will say upfront, yes, it’s cheap. But isn’t most Chinese fast food cheap? Ok, so I ordered a few things so I could get a better ‘taste” of the food.

The first thing I ordered was the Egg Rolls. That is a Chinese restaurant staple, this should be an easy one, right? WRONG. The server brought out 2 egg rolls and my first impression is that they were cooked a tad too long. They were too dark but little did I know that the outside would be the highlight. If you look at the picture, you will see that there is almost nothing inside but celery. I’m not kidding, about 80% of the inside was celery. So much so, that when you went to dip it in some soy, everything on the inside fell out, there was nothing but loose stuff inside, not your typical egg roll. Because it was almost all celery, there isn’t much to review….because celery has little to no taste….MMmmmm deep fried celery…so good? No.

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Next up, the Fried Wontons. No way they mess this up. How do you mess up some deep fried cream cheese? Just ask Mrs. Kitty, the cook, because I think she knows how. I know this all may seem to be coming off as mean and everything, but I’m just not going to try to make this place out to be something that it’s not. These little packets were just full of of gooey cream cheese, it almost dripped out. Nothing mixed in with it, nothing. Blech!

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Last thing I tried was the Beef Lo Mein. There was no way I was going to try the Shrimp Lo Mein, I had no doubt in mind that they weren’t going and purchasing fresh caught seafood everyday or even rotating store bought stock. I just didn’t have that kind of trust in them after I had a glimpse of the kitchen. I have to say this though, the portion size of the Lo Mein was out of control. HUGE! But is that necessarily a good thing? The meat was very very gristly. The noodles and the other ingredients did taste fresh though. So, there’s that.

Here is a link to their latest health inspection: Nooooo
Extra: Ok, a couple of things. There are NO freaking windows. That, right there, ups the creepiness factor. I honestly didn’t think this place was a functioning restaurant and apparently, after telling everyone on social media that I was going, I wasn’t the only one that thought that. I’m going to make bullet points of my observations below.

  • Saw random guy taking buckets of water from The Joe Hotel into the back of the restaurant while I was sitting in my vehicle
  • There were about 40 of those air fresheners in the restaurant and it STILL stunk! It reminded me of the scene from Seven with all the air fresheners. Click for video reference in case you don’t know the movie.
  • The greeter is socially awkward. After asking if I was eating in or out, he replied “SIT!” and walked away. Weird
  • Check out the pics of the kitchen I snuck. Tell me it’s worth it to eat here? Really Metro Jacksonville?
  • How about that front door and lack of windows? I’m sure this is how the next Saw movie is going to start.
  • This is the one time I was excited to get my drink served in a can.
  • Check out the video my buddy @JesseLWilson snagged with his iPhone. No, there is no radio or TV on. That is the greeter talking to himself. It was very unnerving.
  • The whole ordeal took 1.5hrs, from order to paying. I’ve spent less time at Ruth’s Chris for a top notch meal.

In closing, I would like to thank the Navy. While I was in, I received all my Anthrax shots and eaten lots of street food, without your help (Navy) I couldn’t have taken one for the team and tried this place out.

My advice: Skip this place at all costs. I think Metro Jacksonville was trying to get too “hip & cool” with this suggestion. Don’t out think yourselves, there is a reason this place looks abandoned and it should stay that way.

Chopstick Charley's on Urbanspoon

jaxfoodcritic

I love food and I love to make people laugh. This blog started out as a place for me to just vent about some crappy food and turned out that I stumbled into some good food along the way. I'm a father of 2, husband, and master of nothing.

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25 Comments

on “Chopstick Charley’s Restaurant Review (may God have mercy on my soul)
25 Comments on “Chopstick Charley’s Restaurant Review (may God have mercy on my soul)
  1. I have passed this place my entire life. My parent’s said they they ate countless meals there in the 60s and 70s. I will be sure that they see this review before attempting to relive high school memories. Thanks D-McD

  2. So funny!!!! I was just talking to my husband about that and The Joe Motel last night. Wen on line to get information about the building not thinking it was still opened. Came across your blog and laughed so hard. I grew up down the street from there in the 60′s and 70′s and thought it was closed down then. Frightened that it is still up and running – the health department is definitely asleep on the job. You might still want to get a tetanus shot just to be on the safe side. I’m trying to find out when it actually opened but can’t find that information anywhere. Let me know if you know where to get that information.

  3. when it comes to chinese I highly reccomend Peony on Old St Augustine. I think Mr. Chan’s on Beach Blvd is also very good. I am a natvie new yorker so fast food chinese does not do it for me.

  4. Hahaha! I can’t believe you actually went into that building, much less put the food in your mouth! The nasty looking menu itself looked like you could get a disease from that. Thanks for the honest review, although I don’t think I would have ever entertained the idea to eat there anyway! :)

  5. I haven’t laughed this hard from an article ever! The video was the icing on the cake! I actually did a Google search of this place because of the same article. I am craving Chinese food and I was going to make the drive from Riverside for some “good” Chinese food. Boy, am I glad I didn’t.

  6. Just ate there today and everything is exactly as described. There were some unbussed tables around the restaurant so there were presumably other patrons there. For all I know those plates could have been clever staging.

  7. I have been driving past this place for my entire life. We often suggest it for dinner, totally in jest. I have never thought about actually eating there. Yikes!

  8. I have to say this…I ate at this place 50, yes FIFTY years ago with my family. It was the only Chinese restaurant in Jacksonville and remember it being good. Now I have not eaten there in about 25 years, but will say this, my sister took her ex-husband, his wife, mother and grand daughter to this place a few weeks ago. Now these people eat at the some of the highest class places you would ever eaten in….even though they were APPALLED at the way the place looked, and to top everything off, no A/C, they stuck it out;. They ALL said, it was the BEST Chinese food they have ever eaten!! Go figure….my sister has eaten there several times since (only take-out) and still swears by the food, I guess it all depends on when you go and what you order….I, myself, am going to brave it out one day at lunch and do take out here…please pray for me :-)

  9. I know my chinese food.
    I was very impressed with my first experience there last week as were two of my guests.
    Yeah, it smelled bad, the decor sucks, the ice was stale, really dumpy place for sure.
    But I thoroughly enjoyed my food. Best I’ve had in Jax by far.
    I will be returning, but will likely go with take out going forward.

  10. we got a take out last night friday 8/2/13 my 2 kids got sweet and sour chicken and the other got pork lo mein and my husband and I shared a combination pork chow mein egg row — plenty of good food for $18.00

  11. never try to please everyone, but I have eaten there so many times and have never had anything that was left on my plate..soup, and all that goes with it..First time was in 1954…I don”t think they were the owners then, but Kitty and her husband do all the cooking and I have Never eaten any food anywhere any better…..I would never go and eat at another other place…many times I had gone in there for Lunch and half of the Courthouse workers were there along with the State Police….that shows me …YOU DON”T JUDGE a book by its cover…..there are plenty of places that look better, but the food sure doesn’t taste as well and that’s the truth….keep it coming Kitty……Mary

    • While I agree that you don’t judge a book by its cover, I do believe in judging a place that I’m going eat by the lack of cleanliness. It is nasty in there.

      If they aren’t taking the time to clean and are cutting corners with that, it’s logical to assume they are doing it with food quality/costs.

  12. I have managed restaurants all over Jacksonville for a period of almost 17 years and this doesn’t surprise me. The Chinese place in Riverside by Publix is unclean as well. Odd how most people will overlook things like cleanliness for what they consider “good” food. If the place looms that bad when open for business just imagine what it looks like after the lights are turned off. That being said, I have been to better restaurants in Jax with way worse health inspections. My thoughts are, an inspector won’t fail a restaurant they like to eat at. And especially if there are city officials eating there. Could be that the food is better there during busy times and having to be cooks to order.

  13. My room-mates lived down there a few years ago (I’m in Durham, NC b.t.w) and they both thought the place was closed back then. One of them came across this review and he was amazed to learn that the place was open and he sends his sympathy to you and applauds your courage for eating there. Me personally, if that place is open if I ever get a chance to visit the area…. there’s not enough money in Bill Gates’ bank account for me to even entertain the thought of eating in there. I salute you as well. You are far more braver than I will ever be.

    • Crazy right??? I think my stomach still hates me ;( You would be amazed how many people send me comments about how good it is. First, they are lying and second, does it matter how good the food might be if it’s cooked in such an unsanitary environment??

  14. Work by this place-my theory is the make it so creapy so no one but the inner circle will walk through the doors. Either that or drug/human trafficiking who knows what front.

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