When going to a place named Fatburger, you make some assumptions about the experience before you pull into the parking lot. You expect the burgers to be top-notch, large, and possibly greasy. In short, Fatburger didn’t meet any of my expectations.
The Fatburger itself is a third of a pound of fresh ground beef, served atop an enriched roll with mustard, lettuce, tomato, relish, and fried onions. Cheese costs extra. I understand that fast food employees don’t want to worry about undercooked meat, but the burger was cooked to the point of being dry; it took a liberal helping of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce to moisten the thing up. The burger itself, aside from being overcooked, had a nice flavor to it. Cheese wasn’t needed, although I am curious about what it would taste like with the egg atop.
I liked that the burger came wrapped in paper, so that I didn’t have to get greasy fingers when trying to eat it… but since ketchup or BBQ sauce is added afterward by the consumer, you have to take it all apart anyway. Compared to the pre-assembled and wrapped burgers at Five Guys, it seems a little counter-intuitive.
The Fat Fries are thick cut steak fries. They were pretty good, extremely hot, but a little soft… they could have used another 10-15 seconds in the fryer. I didn’t try the standard fries, but I heard that they’re not much better than McDonald’s.
The Fat Deal (burger, fries, regular drink) runs $7.99 before tax, although they do run a $5 special on Wednesday nights for students with ID. That seems a little steep, given the burger, but it’s not absolute robbery.
Visiting Fatburger had been on my to-do list for a while, ever since a friend in Towson had told me about it a few years back. I recently found myself in the Gateway Overlook plaza and figured I’d try it out. My opinion: I much prefer Five Guys. Pricing seems better, the burgers are juicier, the topping selection is copious, everything gets assembled for you, and the fries are usually quite good. If I were in the area I might go back and try the turkey burger or the egg-topped version, but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way.
Update: I have since returned and can report other offerings. The Turkey Burger comes similarly prepared, but on a wheat roll and cooked juicy, with a pleasant taste. The Homemade Onion Rings are thin-sliced without a lot of batter. Although the menu states that they are made from scratch every day, there were the telltale signs of frost on the rings before they got dunked into the oil, suggesting that they’re from a bag in the freezer. They’re fried up until golden and flaky and greasy. They withstood the true test of an onion ring; the entire onion ring didn’t separate from the batter after the first bite, staying in place. Still, the ones at Second Chance are far superior. Even with these new experiences, I probably wouldn’t seek the place out.