Fat Dan’s has been on my list for awhile, and luckily, I have a friend who is pushy when it comes to his love of the place as well as getting me to write about it. But I can appreciate a restaurant-pusher—especially when I end up agreeing with them. This was actually my third visit (all in the last few months) to Fat Dan’s, and all of them have been good. On this most recent visit, I ordered the burger ($6.25) (which I also had on my first visit). (Note: this is not an anonymous review, but as always is still an honest one.)
So you can probably guess that since I ordered the burger a second time, particularly when I am not generally a person who orders a lot of restaurant burgers, that it is a darn good burger. I love that I was actually asked how I wanted it cooked (medium rare) and that Dan cooked it just that way (yep, it’s often a one-man operation, and Dan is a taking your order and cooking it up). The burger was really tender and juicy, and I liked the two kinds of cheeses (Provolone and cheddar I believe) and I liked the soft, fresh bun. The first time I just ordered it as it came, and it had more stuff on it (lettuce and tomato type stuff). This time I just asked for it with just cheese, ketchup and pickles (my classic combo) and I liked it even better than the first time because I could really taste the meat (and it wasn’t as tall, which made it easier for me to eat). This isn’t the thin burger style, but it is probably the best of the fat burgers I have had around town.
So if you order fries ($2.75), you get a pile of them dumped on a piece of butcher paper on the table. Seriously, a ton! The first time I didn’t eat a lot of them---honestly I thought they were a little soft, but this time I asked for them extra crispy and I enjoyed them a lot more. They are hand cut—mostly your classic fat cut French fry shape, but a few thick round slices as well. You can tell they are coming from fresh potatoes and I like the somewhat heavy handed seasoning on them. Get them crispy and they are really good (I might pass on them otherwise though).
In the past, I have also had the pulled pork sandwich ($8.25) which is very good as well. They have a little smoker in the kitchen and Dan does a good job with the smoked meat. It is very tender—really rich and smoky though, hard for me to eat a ton of it. It has a really nice deep flavor—not all dried out like a lot of pulled pork sandwiches. I also had a taste of my friend’s “wreck” sandwich which has a little bit of everything on it. There's roast beef and turkey, lots of onions, giardiniera, tomatoes, lettuce, and melted cheese served on an Italian roll. Pretty much a kitchen sink kind of sandwich. Honestly, the slice of it I had I don’t even think had all the ingredients. It was huge. It was pretty good, but I liked my burger better I think (at least compared to the bites I had). They do have a classic Italian Beef sandwich on the menu, which I am intrigued to try (when I have someone to split it with) as well as a traditional Chicago dog. I was with someone on one visit who got the corn dog as well, and I was intrigued by it as well—it was a hand dipped batter. Impressive.
Which brings me to one of my favorite parts about Fat Dan’s—the atmosphere. It is a hole in the wall kind of place—not fancy, but it has a great friendly vibe, especially if you are lucky enough to be there when Dan is actually working—he chatted with us for awhile, and it is completely obvious after 5 minutes of talking to him that he is a really great guy, and really cares about what he is doing. He cares about all his ingredients, and makes food the way he would want to eat it. (My only complaint, in the winter, it tends to be a bit chilly, so wear your sweater). They’ve got beer on tap (local Triton Brewing Company currently, and Old Style, of course), and it is a fun place to sit and have a beer and a great sandwich. (Yep, even I drank beer.) These sandwiches are hearty too—a great place for a person with a healthy appetite (or for two people like me to share something).
Fat Dan’s Chicago Style Deli
815 Broad Ripple Avenue