Between the name and the marketing slogan: “Fat Shack—Late Night Done Right” there’s little question to whom this new restaurant, open as late as 3 a.m., is targeted.
Popular items are burgers, wings, and their densely packed specialty sandwiches, some with names a party animal would chortle over (“Fat Doobie” and “Fat Hangover,” for example.) The typical “fat” sandwich is some combination of grilled steak and fried chicken, along with melted cheese and a host of sides, all pressed inside a fresh hoagie roll. It is not for the meek, or for someone looking for a salad bar.
But along with its unapologetic embrace of deep-fried food, the Fat Shack serves up some surprises. Its hamburger ($5.99 single, $9.99 triple) is hand-pressed, hand-seasoned Angus beef that’s never frozen, said co-owner Taylor Martin, and is served on a soft, rich Brioche bun. The Philly cheesesteak meat is ribeye from Spokane, flash-frozen. Taylor owns the place along with his brother, Marcus, and dad, Mike, and mom, Lori.
Don’t call what they serve here fast food, says Lori. “We don’t have a bunch of prepped food.” The Martins take time to cook things right, like allowing chicken fingers to fry for eight minutes for just the right crisp. Sunday’s 50 percent off wings special has become wildly popular, says Mike.
Located in Bakerview Square off Bakerview Road in Bellingham, Fat Shack opened last November. It’s a gleeful repudiation of calorie-counting, fresh-vegetable, only-good-fat fare. Food-to-table? Try fryer-to-table. For some, Fat Shack is for hard-earned cheat days when you just want something fried, thank you, knowing Monday’s kale salad awaits.
Bellingham is Fat Shack’s first foray into Washington for the Colorado-based franchise, which also has eight restaurants in Colorado and two in Texas so far. Well past the typical lunch hour, folks continue to enter the brightly colored, clean, small space that fronts Bakerview Road’s never-ending trail of vehicles.
The Martins wisely offer sandwiches in small, medium, and large. They include the Fat Jersey ($8.49 for the small). It’s a mélange of Philly cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, French fries and honey mustard pressed tightly in a hoagie roll, wrapped in paper and served plate-less. A recent sampling found that the chicken miraculously retained some crisp within, as did the fries. Be sure to have extra napkins handy for the generous saucing.
Their dessert selection, reminiscent of a day at the fair, includes deep-fried Oreos (three for $3.69), Twinkies and Rice Krispies Treats. With the Oreo, a spongy donut exterior gives way to the cookie, rendered velvety by the intense heat, followed by that unmistakable Oreo aftertaste. Dusted with powdered sugar, it’s a fitting finish to a Fat Shack meal—if you can handle the guilt.