Bronco Charlie's Cabin
Bronco Charlie’s Cabin photo by Morton Fox

See Memories of Bronco Charlie’s posted by the community at the Questions -We Need Your Help Blog

Paul Connors ?20 March 2009, 16:33

Bronco Charlie’s was a restaurant my family ate at many times when I was a boy in the early and mid-1960′s. It had the best Sauerbraten I’d ever eaten. It seemed really large for a little kid and the waiters were always in tuxes and helpful to diners. After leaving LI in the early 1980s I always wondered what happened to the place and heard that it partially burned and was never re-opened. That was too bad as it would probably stil be popular today, much like the Milleridge Inn is.

PS I grew up in Stony Brook and we’d head over to Oakdale to eat at Bronco Charlie’s because my folks liked it so much.

ksjr362 ?18 July 2009, 20:53

I worked as a busboy in the late 1970s. It is sad to see what has happened to the restaurant since it’s been abandoned. There are pictures on

Howard Boles ?29 December 2009, 02:47

My story is similar to Paul’s. I have fond memories of eating at Bronco Charlie’s with my mom and dad when I was a boy in the late 50′s and early 60′s. I remember how delicious the duck with orange sauce was, and we always topped off dinner with a chocolate parfait. Back then we lived in Nesconset and later Centereach, and we would often go for a drive on the weekend and end up at Bronco Charlie’s for dinner. I’m sorry it’s no longer open, but now that it’s 50 years later and my folks are gone, I am sustained by my happy memories of our weekend excursions and great meals together at Bronco Charlie’s.

Patricia Cuttler Hilton ?03 February 2010, 15:57

I read your article on “Bronco Charlie’s” Restaurant with great interest and despair. For as long as I can remember, and with a few exceptions, my mother, Theresa (Terry) Cuttler worked there until the year before her death in 1966. Although it would never have existed if not for Bronco Charlie, its history goes way beyond the man who built the log cabin. I can remember many Mothers’ Days with long lines of people waiting for hours to get in for the famous Sauerbraten and Christmas’ and Easters and Sundays with people coming from all over just to eat there and enjoy the atmosphere and the great food. She even came home on night with an autograph from Ed Begley, Sr. I remember my Mother coming home after long 11 and 12 hour shifts with her pockets full of change and dollars, which we got to count, and with feet so hot and sweaty and tired that we would fix her a foot bath and rub her neck and back.. I can remember seeing her coming to customers’ tables with huge trays on her shoulders piled high with plates of hot, steaming foot and wondering how in the world she could carry something so heavy and so high in the air. Every once in awhile, we kids would go with my Father to pick Mom up and if it was a good day, she would treat us to the absolutely best strawberry shortcake that I have ever had in my life which - in my child’s eyes I was positive that they were at least 2 feet tall!

But my favorite memory was the evening that I actually met “Bronco Charlie” I was probably six or seven years old and I think that he had either just turned 100 or was about to. He came to the restaurant to celebrate and he was sitting in a chair in the “bar area”. He was dressed in buckskin and had this large cowboy hat on. He told stories of how he built the cabin and that he used to live there. He had a jar filled with Indian Head pennies that he tried to give to me. My mother quickly gave the jar back to him but only after I made her promise that she would give me her pennies to replace my lost fortune. Looking back I appreciate how she kept a straight face and allowed me to make this great deal!

Those were definitely the days and how sad it is to see “Bronco Charlies” in such disrepair with no one to claim it and make it shine again. My mother will have passed away 40 years ago this September 1st and after seeing your article, I feel like I have lost her all over again. I no longer live in Oakdale but I do get The Suffolk County News delivered to me and I am hoping to see other articles soon letting me know that someone cared and that my mother and the other great people who worked there over the years will be remembered for the great food, great service and great times that carried the name of Bronco Charlie to even more fame.

Stephen Korin ?24 July 2010, 15:22

I’m 65 now, but as a young man, I remember visiting Bronco Charlie’s when I was a cadet at La Salle Military Academy from 1959 to 1962. My family and I often ate there on Saturdays and Sundays and especially during La Salle Military Academy events such as Summer Drill Day, Graduations, and other events. Cadets wore their uniforms and of course, parents were so proud of their sons. When I was a student, cadets followed strict discipline such as that at West Point. Good manners were expected. La Salle closed in 2001as a consequence of our liberalized society where a school based on Catholic education and military discipline was not valued as in the past. When I pass the empty lot where Bronco Charlie’s used to be, many fond memories flash through my mind!

don conrad ?30 July 2010, 10:08

I worked there 1977–1978. It seems just like yesterday. The staff were great and we had many good times.

Chris ?27 September 2010, 08:19

I worked off/on as a Dishwasher/Pot Washer/Bus Boy in Bronco Charlies between 1975–77. Smoked my first joint listening to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” in the parking lot with a fellow Pot Washer named Tommy Murtha. An dropped ash burnt a hole in my front seat!

I remember having a crush on a couple of the waitresses, who were always fun…Ralph, the owner at the time, was a real pain…especially when he brought in a new German Head Chef!

Greg W ?24 October 2010, 09:40

Wow, I was talking with my mother and the name Bronco Charlie’s came up. I used to drive out there as a small boy with my grandmother and grandfather and my younger brother. My brother and i were 4 and 5 years old when we first went there (early 70′s). It was my grandfather’s favorite place out on the Island (he was a Brooklyn boy). I know that when my mother was young my grandparents had a summer house in Patchogue, that must be when they found the place. The log cabin and I think they had a fireplace in the dinning area.

23 January 2011, 13:51

Oh my!! How I remember the Sauerbraten and red cabbage at Bronco Charlie’s My parents used to bring us here on Mother’s Day, and Easter. I’ve been trying to replicate it, but I always fall short. If anyone has it, please send to I would be forever grateful.

From: Jack Conklin, (Class of 1967) E-mail: Question/Comment: posted 2/20/2013 - My story is similar to the one by Patricia Cutler Hilton above. It appears that Bronco Charlie who said that he was born in 1849 or 1850 had a â?obigâ? birthday party at his restaurant in Oakdale; I am to guess that it was his 100th. My parents took me to that party when I was very young. The story that was told to me was that at some point I was placed on Bronco Charlieâ?Ts lap. My parents were concerned that I might fall asleep but I did not. In actuality he fell asleep while I sat there on his lap. My parents, and those who were caring for him, did not know what to do about removing me without startling him. My parents told me that I was a â?ogood sportâ? and stayed there until he finished his nap. I remember the interior of the restaurant and bar area and remember being awed by the â?olog cabinâ? appearance. I also have a vague memory of him sitting in his wooden arm chair. I donâ?Tt remember the event itself as I must have been too young.

From: Charlie Swartzfager E-mail: Question/Comment:10/24/14 - I was born in Patchogue in 1953. My father George was a Lutheran minister at Ridge Church My mother, Henretta Dodt was born in Medford where my grandparents lived until their deaths in 1967 and 1969. My grandfather Charlie Dodt had been the Superintendant of highways and my uncle, Carl was fire chief in Medford. My family moved to Ohio in 1957. but returned to visit my grandparents every summer until 1969. One of the highlights was going to my grandfather’s favorite restaurant, Bronco ,Charlie’s. My grandfather always requested Emil as our waiter. I also remember often geting their giant turkey drumsticks. We would also occasionly be treated to their deliscious lobster with the heated butter. Then to finish up we would have the parfait or orange sherbert in the silver dishes. The adults always had Manhattens and we got the cherries. Now 50+ years later I have very fond memories which are reinforced when I look at the books of matches and the little boxes of gold tipped wooden matches I have retained all these years.

From: Nancymclain E-mail: Question/Comment:11/2/14 - I grew up in Idle Hour in oakdale.In the early & late 50′s, my family & I dined there often & loved the old fashioned Strawberry Shortcake with the biscuit.,but my most memorable memory was meeting Bronco Charlie as a Girl Scout, where he autographed my book he wrote, as the first Pony Express rider. I wish I had kept that book,but as a kid, you can’t appreciate the value of that experience.Youth IS wasted on the young !!!

Do you have information to add? Then please contact Diane Holliday.

Last Modified on November 03, 2014, at 10:43 AM by DH

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