How can you NOT try a place called “Fatburger“. The name is like a flick-off to all the health-conscious, calorie-counting diners out there. After a few passes in front of a local Fatburger branch, I had to find out what this place is all about.
The decor is redolent of a jumping 50’s-style diner. It’s got chrome, bright colours, and its menu is written in retro fonts. The franchise opened in 1952 by Lovie Yancey, and one gets the sense that the owner wanted to keep things looking as if the store was still in that decade. One thing I also noticed is that this branch was really, really clean. Top marks to the hard-working staff here. You could eat off the counters.
I ordered the “Original Fatburger” combo, which comes with fries and unlimited trips to the soda fountain (extra points for allowing me to drink my weight in root beer). My wife ordered the smaller “Baby Fat” because she wasn’t that hungry and because its fun to say “Baby Fat’. I have to say that I had trouble eating the entire combo, and unless you’re famished I would recommend against ordering the hefty “Original Combo” or its bigger cousins. This is especially true because the Original Fatburger combo costs a little over $10, which frankly is a little too much given that a “Baby Fat” runs $3,99, has more toppings, and is not too much smaller. I don’t want to sound cheap, but I am simply not convinced that the “Original Fatburger” is great value.
So, how was the meal? In a short, it was pretty good. The fries were nice – thin, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. I also thought that the condiments were well sized and easy to chomp on. This might strike you as an odd comment, but it was a little difference I appreciated.
The burger itself wasn’t anything to write home about. It was certainly juicy, but I found the meat to be under-seasoned and slightly rubbery. It was definitely better than MacDonalds but not as good a Burger King or Harveys. (Judging from other reviewers I seem to be in the minority on this point).
All this made me sad. Though a reviewer should go into a restaurant with an open mind, I admit that I really wanted to like Fatburger. I wanted to be blown away and to write an enthusiastic review extolling the virtues of “The Last Great Hamburger Stand”. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I just take myself too seriously.
In any event, I can safely say that the Fatburger experience is a good one – a solid 7 out of 10 – that could be made even better with a slightly better hamburger patty. At the very least, the atmosphere, quick friendly service, and yummy fries will likely bring me back for one more taste.