I promised a full Fat Head’s Saloon review on yesterday’s post, which chronicled The Boy’s ’75 beers – One Weekend’ adventure. Whew.
I have been dining at Fat Head’s (1805 East Carson Street – by the hour parking lot directly across from the spot!) for years. My friends and I used to come here in high school (just to eat, no beer!) because it gave us a taste of the raucous Southside before we even had a slim chance of making it into a bar. The place is fairly big inside and well kept. Exposed brick, wood floors, carefully placed beer paraphernalia, bright colors used on signage and the menus – it all lends itself to a sports bar/TGIF Friday’s feel – but better!
Here is the one problem with Fat Head’s. Come here on a Friday or Saturday night with a large group of people and you will wait. And wait, and wait. This place is always packed (and gets pretty loud). There is a bar area and your waiting blues can easily be pacified by one of the 40+ beers on tap. However, the wait is something to keep in mind. Send someone early to snag a table or try going on a weeknight to check it out.
Once you get yourself seated, prepare to be borderline overwhelmed by the menu. This place has pages of sandwiches (some called ‘headwiches’, as they are to be as big as your head), salads, appetizers, wings, etc. Most sandwiches are served with (I believe) house-made potato chips, which are always thick, crispy, and fresh tasting.
Overall, I have enjoyed most everything I have had at Fat Head’s. I usually stick to the sandwiches and salads. The ingredients used at Fat Head’s always appear to be of good quality. Portions are large and, in my experience, everyone at the table is usually happy and content with their plates. I will admit, I have at times found the sandwiches to be slightly hit or miss. Some of the options seem to have been concocted simply for the sake of more options, if that makes sense. I can remember once ordering a rather bland chicken sandwich with mushrooms and a so so grilled tuna sandwich. However, The Boy and I love the ‘Beauty and the Beastie’ (a pulled pork concoction), the burgers, the wings, and the salads.
Here is my secret to the joint – Fat Head’s has a rather tasty and large house salad. Nothing mind blowing here, but good crisp and cool greens, cukes, cherry tomatoes, egg, olives, a little cheese. I get the house salad with the sinfully good and spicy honey mustard dressing and just ‘taste’ my way through the rest of the meal. This might mean nibbling on apps or wings for the table or having The Boy pass over a quarter of his massive burger or sandwich. Maybe I just sneak some house-made chips from someone’s plate and dip them into my honey mustard (have I said enough about the honey mustard?). Believe me, everyone is going to have leftover food! This isn’t about being ‘cheap’ – the whole menu is decently priced, most everything is going to be under $10. Its more about enjoying bar/junk food without going totally overboard and/or wasting food.
In short, I stick with something simple at Fat Head’s, because I know the meal (and beers) in whole will be an indulgence. But if this isn’t an issue for you, maybe try the ‘South Side Slopes’, a sandwich Fat Head’s got press for back in 2004. Maxim magazine named it the #5 best “meat hog” sandwich in America. It is filled with kielbasa and fried pierogies. Eek! I did witness a hung-over young lad order this a few years back – said it was delish!
As for the beers, the selection in lengthy. As the goods rotate in and out, its hard to make suggestions. However, here are a few that were on tap over the weekend that The Boy and I recommend:
Me: I prefer lighter beers – Lindeman’s Framboise (a ‘lambic’ fruit beer – I prefer the raspberry – this is super sweet and I think of it as a ‘treat’), Bell’s Oberon Ale ( a pale summer wheat ale – light and fruity)
The Boy: Unibroue Trois Pistoles (belgian style strong dark ale), Bear Republic XP Pale Ale (an APA – American Pale Ale – currently served by cask instead of keg- cask ale is considered ‘real ale’ – it is unpasteurized and unfiltered – therefore, it continues to age in its ‘cask’ and develops a gentler CO2 as compared to keg ale, which is sterile filtered and loaded into pressurized kegs – cask ale is also known to produce a richer deeper taste – get more info on cask ale in this wikipedia article)
To note, the bartenders are pros and pretty knowledgeable at that – don’t be afraid to ask for a suggestion. They will gladly let you taste most anything and point you in the direction of your preferences.
If you are in the mood for a burger and a beer, I am not sure this place can be beat – they are serving unique beers and pretty decent food. Check it out! I think this is also a great place to take an out of towner, particularly if they are male and in town for a sporting event:) And don’t forget about the six pack shop upstairs.