A cat in a restaurant is a good sign -- they keep rats away. Like felines, Charlie's is clean and sleek: two floors, exposed ceilings, a neon cow showing the different cuts of meat, a large option kitchen with slabs of beef hanging from the ceiling, and lots of windows for natural light. It's a comfortable neighborhood spot. The playlists could use some work though -- dog-friendly fast-food doesn't have to involve Pitbull.
The burger is the way to go here. You're unlikely to find one with a patty this fresh for 35rmb elsewhere in town. Caliburger is great, but Charlie's patty is thicker, and has that homemade, backyard cook-out kinda taste. The sauce doesn't overwhelm the beef flavor (actual beef flavor, not that hospital flavor you'll find at BK or Carl's), and the bun matches well.
Everything else, from the watery lemonade to a bland, snapless hot dog and a real-but-not-stellar 45rmb mint chocolate-chip shake (not as thick as they claimed) was just alright . Somehow their chili [liquefied] cheese fries tasted almost healthy, and the chili actually tasted like chili -- the soup kind -- but the fries could have been crispier.
And then, there is the dog menu, which we didn't try. That includes three peanut butter & bacon biscuits for 15rmb, a "woof" unseasoned beef patty for 20rmb, and a 25rmb "Puppy Ice Cream Cup", which involves vanilla ice cream and a dog biscuit. Should dogs eat ice cream? Computer says no, but turns out this is a special "doggie" ice cream. Nice touch.
They don't have salads or "healthy" food, but the fact that you can pull up and sit outside with your dog and drink a 45rmb pint of Brooklyn Lager, Dead Guy, Urban IPA, or Cider Republic draft makes up for that. Pet-friendly fast food is a less crowded niche than healthy food anyway. Shout out to Ya Yang the cat.