If I were 20 years old and perpetually stoned, Fat Shack (2858 W Berry St, 817-367-9951) would be my favorite place to gorge. The chain, whose local beachhead opened near TCU a month or so ago, specializes in excess – the kind of grub that will set you on a path to an EpiPen or a full-on heart explosion in three visits. But if you have to kill yourself with food, you might as well enjoy three entrees and fries stuffed between pieces of bread in something winkingly referred to as a “sandwich.” Oh, and wash it down with a milkshake, because fuck your arteries.
When I was a teenager, this was the kind of place I dreamed about. I could have fantasized about curing cancer or crane-kicking a bully in a karate tournament, but I wasted a lot of mental energy thinking about all the food I’d eat if I were allowed to eat all the food. Somewhere a psychotherapist is nodding and writing down “poor self-esteem,” but I’m just out here living my dream.
So there I was at the Shack’s new locale on a recent weekday, cry-eating a Fat Slob ($11.49 for a regular) –– a trough’s worth of cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and French fries flanked by two insufficient pieces of fresh-tasting bread – and contemplating why ordering the food has to be just as humiliating as eating it.
All of the sandwich names on the Fat Menu sound as if they had been conceived by a snickering pre-teen. The Fat Donkey Lips is loaded with chicken fingers, crispy fries, and more; the Fat Cow is a hillock of mac ’n’ cheese, bacon, fries, mozzarella sticks, and Buffalo ranch dressing (because you need more calories, Slim!); the Fat Doobie is crammed full of onion rings, chicken fingers, and a live pig, and it’s slathered in lighter fluid. Or something. For an added punchline, you can order a “large” version of these already obscene vittles.
Noted health nut Mark Cuban saw fit to fund the Colorado chain’s expansion on an episode of Shark Tank. “Americans are living too long,” I imagined he said. Think about that when you’re cheering on the Mavs. Cuban wants you to be so fat you have to call a nurse every time you want to bathe.
Sort of coincidentally, the Shack opened in the space that once housed The Science Lab Bar & Grille, which was called Whiskey XII until the erstwhile TCU hangout appeared on The Food Network’s restaurant rehab/rebranding show On the Rocks, which actually made the food and decor way worse. In other words, I think you have to have some connection to a reality show to occupy this ring of the circus.
The Fat Shack interior looks every bit the chain but one of the nicer ones – like “the good one” version of whatever chain you prefer. There’s a pimped-out condiment station that allows you to pump as much sauce and extra dressing as you want. The service was amazing on my visit. The polite staff was attentive, patient, and knowledgeable. Still, they’re killing you.
I ate that whole thing, by the way – half in the afternoon and half later that night while crashed-out on my couch drinking a goddamn chocolate milkshake. When I woke up, my morkie was on top of me licking the empty wrapper, which was wedged between my arm and chest. Thanks for that tableau, Fat Shack. It’s not that I hate you. I just hate myself when I’m around you.