La Mesa

Famous Fair Food Vendor Opens at Grossmont Center

People line up for Chicken Charlie's deep-fried fare

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He’s 23 miles from where he used to be.

He’s right where it needs to be now.

Charlie Boghosian, better known as Chicken Charlie, just opened up one of his famous fair food booths in the Grossmont Center parking lot, right outside of Walmart.

“We’re trying to bring a little bit of the fair to Grossmont,” Charlie said. “How cool is this?”

Charlie was supposed to be making the rounds on local television newscasts on June 5, which would have been the first day of the San Diego County Fair. Roughly 1.5 million people attend the fair during its monthlong stay at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. However, the coronavirus pandemic wiped it off the calendar.

“Obviously, this is not the fair. It’s the next best thing,” he exclaimed while standing in front of his booth that will sell bacon-wrapped hot dogs, funnel cakes, corn dogs, deep-fried Oreos, and cotton candy ice cream sandwiches.

“This is really cool,” he said as people started showing up in the parking lot an hour before the booth opened at 11 a.m.

Charlie said he hired 30 people for the booth, and he needs to hire more.

“We’re bringing a little fun to San Diego,” he said. “We’re generating a little money for the employees and myself.”

His location may be 23 miles from Del Mar, but it’s a couple of miles from where protests turned violent less than a week ago in La Mesa. Members of the National Guard now stand outside of La Mesa City Hall.

“The city is hurting. San Diego, La Mesa. We’re here,” Charlie said. “I really feel like I’m blessed to bring a little love, a little joy.”

The line outside his booth may be proof of the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.

Chicken Charlie said he’ll open his fair food booth every day from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Grossmont Center. All customers will need to place their orders online or on their app.

He said he’ll stay open later when La Mesa lifts the curfew. He added they plan to stay open for as long as the San Diego County Fair was to be open. However, Charlie said they might stay open beyond the July 4 weekend.

For now, it’s right where Charlie needs to be.

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