“Where everybody knows your name” is Charley’s mantra and no one is as surprised as Jaime Verdugo. At forty six years of age Jaime is a success as a restauranteur. His eatery sits proudly on the west side of the free road just north of the statue of Jesus. Charley’s opened just four years ago with Jaime as the cook and his sister Magda as the waitress. It was a small operation with five tables and three items on the menu. Jaime had lived in the US with his older brother after his Mom died and worked at odd jobs never imagining he would be the owner of one of the most beloved restaurants in Rosarito. As luck or lack of it would happen he had to leave the US and return to Mexico where he and his sisters decided to open a small taco shop. Nothing fancy, just something to do to earn a living. What happened next shows what hard work and imagination can accomplish.
A patron asked if he could have rice and beans. There wasn’t any so Jaime ran next door to Magda’s house, grabbed a couple of bags and next day it was on the menu. Next time the request was for chicken and there wasn’t any. Jaime rushed to the butcher and next day it was on the menu. It went like this for weeks with the menu growing so big more sisters were needed to help with the business. Whenever a patron asked for something that sounded good, it was added immediately. Magda saw that Jaime was the big draw along with the food so she decided to put him out front and do the cooking herself. As a patron of this wonderful place I am thankful for Magda and her sisters and the glorious food they prepare. Their other brother is a fisherman who delivers fresh fish daily so that this family operation can serve the best fish to be found in Baja.
The five tables were not enough to hold the crowds so an addition was added with a stage for the music they wanted. Televisions were necessary as was a bar, and this year an upstairs addition was begun to be used as a sports bar. Jaime’s friends decided to build this addition free of charge because it’s Baja, and Jaime and the love you feel as soon as you set foot in the door is real. Yes, everybody knows your name and there’s laughter and friendship unlike anything I have ever seen outside of family. But then when you enter his place you become family and that’s the secret of his success. Real honest-to-goodness interest in his customers keeps them coming back for great food and for me a big kiss on the cheek along with a hug. Jaime Verdugo knows his business.