The Free Agent burger at Fatty's Burgers & More (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
Burger review: Fatty’s Burgers & More
2665 N. Clark St. 773-248-3288
Rating: ! ½ (out of four)
According to popular wisdom, everything is bigger in Texas. Fatty’s Burgers & More, a Texas-bred operation that recently set up shop in Chicago (the creator’s brother helms the Lincoln Park location), certainly confirmed this for fact for The Great Burgerelli. The chain’s piece de resistance is The Lineman ($13.99), a preposterously large full-pound cheeseburger that intimidated even this esteemed burger seeker. Even the standard burgers are an impressive half pound in weight and are also curiously named after sports references. For what reason, I know not; the Great Burgerelli does not care much for sports beyond burger-eating. Summoning my courage (and appetite), I paid a visit to this new addition to the local burger landscape, eager to evaluate whether bigger truly is better.
The burger: Suspicions arose immediately when I ordered two half-pound char burgers and was not asked how I would like either prepared. Though they are grilled to order, both arrived well-done and completely brown to the core. To my surprise, the meat was not dry, but it was devastatingly over-salted and reminiscent of a fast-food patty. Though two burgers arrived at my table at the same time, one was noticeably warmer than the other.
The bun: Fatty’s buns appear similar to so many others I have consumed, but have a few remarkable features that are surprisingly effective in containing the massive amount of meat. Though the folks at Fatty’s will not disclose their bun-preparation trade secrets, I suspect that the bottom bun receives a slathering of butter and a turn on the grill, which goes far to prevent the common affliction I call lower bun disintegration. The top half of the bun appeared ungrilled, retaining a pleasant lightness.
The fixings: The signature Fatty’s Burger ($8.99) is simply a basic cheeseburger, topped with American cheese and all the condiments one would expect: lettuce, tomato, chopped raw onion, pickles, mayonnaise and mustard. The toppings are acceptable, if a bit sparse, but fail to bring any excitement to my meal. The menu’s specialty burgers, however, offer significantly more variety. The Free Agent ($11.99) was crowned with a satisfactory fried egg and grilled onions, but grilled tomatoes were limp and wasabi mayonnaise scarcely offered any heat. Fatty’s earns my respect for including a side of hand-cut fries with each burger, but when only one of two orders arrives properly fried, the bonus fails to impress.
Bottom line: Fatty’s has quite a bit of competition on this stretch of Clark Street, what with The Wieners Circle nearby and myriad bars serving burgers at lower prices. With that kind of pressure, it’s not enough to rely on solid buns and giant burgers. Unless, of course, one’s only concern is tending to one’s cowboy-sized appetite.
The Great Burgerelli is a fearless seeker of fine burgers. firstname.lastname@example.org