Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty’s eyes lit up when he spotted the pickle jar up on a shelf behind the counter.
He excitedly pointed to it, saying the pickle jar was the first delivery to Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe when the South End restaurant opened in the 1920s.
The jar, still filled with the pickles from that delivery, now sits with coffee filters on its right and a black-and-white photograph of the neighborhood from long ago on its left, before there were luxury condo buildings down the street.
The restaurant – which drew President Obama, movie star Mark Wahlberg and famous jazz musicians — closed in 2014, taken as another sign of how much the city’s South End had changed in the last 100 years.
But the Columbus Avenue restaurant reopened earlier this year under new ownership, the “Cash Only” sign still in the front window. Chef Evan Deluty, the owner of Stella, another South End restaurant, bought the spot in 2014.
He’s keeping the name “Charlie’s” because it’s “iconic,” he said after Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined him outside on Wednesday for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
Baker, holding a bag of blueberry muffins from the restaurant, quipped he was glad they kept the name, too.
Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe is an “institution,” the governor added, and name-checked the turkey hash the restaurant is known for serving.
Standing next to Baker and Walsh were two former rivals, Mel King and Ray Flynn. King and Flynn faced off in a race for mayor in 1983.
Flynn, who lives in South Boston, another neighborhood riven by changes brought about by luxury development, looked down the South End block, in the direction of the high-end housing.
He then looked at the small crowd gathered outside the small restaurant that looked largely the same as it did 88 years ago.
“This is Boston, right here,” Flynn said.