Original Fatburger

The name “Fatburger” evokes a number of feelings and mental images when you hear it, but Fatburger founder Lovie Yancey had this to say about the name:

“The name of the store was my idea, I wanted to get across the idea of a big burger with everything on it…a meal in itself.”

The burgers range in sizes from the Small Fatburger all the way up to the XXXL Fatburger, which has 3 patties. Presumably the Original Fatburger was supposed to be a meal in itself, so I guess that makes the XXXL Fatburger an entire buffet.

Fatburger bills itself as “the last great hamburger stand,” which is a pretty bold claim. I wanted to know if their food could support such a statement, so I gave the Original Fatburger a try.

The Burger

All of the burgers at Fatburger come with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, diced onions, relish, and mustard. I ordered mine without the pickles or relish, but it occurred to me that having both pickles and relish would probably lead to an excess of pickle flavor on the burger, even for someone who likes pickles.

Cheese does not come on the burger by default, which the person who took my order pointed out to me, so I added a slice. There were several options, and I chose American, since it’s a typical “classic” cheese for burgers.

What eventually arrived at my table was a burger that was visually unappealing. Both the patty and the bun were cracked, the toppings appeared uneven, and the whole thing looked like it had been wrapped too tightly.

Biting into the burger, my suspicions about the poor topping distribution were confirmed. I had eaten half the burger before getting my first bite with tomato in it. Despite being able to see the onions, I couldn’t taste them. This was probably because there was way too much mustard, which was the dominant flavor by far.

To Fatburger’s credit, there were a few positive aspects about this burger that stood out. Perhaps most impressive was that the patty was juicy and perfectly cooked. I was able to actually taste the meat in nearly every bite, which is not something I can say for many other burgers. All of the ingredients were fresh, and the crispiness of the lettuce could only be described as “just right.” The tomato, despite not covering much of the burger, was the thickest slice of tomato I’ve ever found on a burger from a chain restaurant.

Unfortunately, none of these benefits were enough to outweigh the numerous drawbacks.

The Fries

Fatburger has two kinds of fries: Fat Fries and Skinny Fries. Fat fries are steak fries, and skinny fries are standard cut. I ordered the skinny fries with my burger, and they arrived piping hot.

The fries weren’t as crispy as I would have liked them to be, with most of the crunch found at the ends of the fries, leaving the middles chewy. They were cooked well otherwise, with golden exteriors and fluffy interiors. They were not seasoned well, however, and the lack of salt was noticeable. Frustratingly, there were no salt shakers at any of the tables.

The fries left my fingers with a thin coating of grease, and they tasted like greasy potatoes. It’s a shame they couldn’t deliver on their visual promise.

The Price

The Original Fatburger, with a slice of cheese (which costs $1 extra), and an order of Skinny Fries will run you about nine and a half dollars before tax, making this a moderately priced meal. The food is filling, but the taste is disappointing, which for me makes this is poor value.

The Restaurant

Fatburger had a cool, retro look that hearkened back to the chain’s origins as a simple burger stand in Los Angeles, CA in the late 1940s (the burger stand wasn’t called “Fatburger” until 1952).

That cool look and feel extended only as far as the general décor, however. The tables and chairs were slightly dirty, and the floor was quite dirty. The music was emanating from the open kitchen, and sounded like it was just whatever the cooks were listening to while they prepared the food. The bathroom was moderately dirty and felt a bit gross to be in.

The staff were friendly, and one guy even thanked me by name as I left, which I found impressive since he had only seen my name when he brought my food to the table.

There’s not really anything positive I can say about Fatburger. The food was adequate at best, the dining room was a mess, and the price outpaced the quality of the product. There are so many other restaurants in Spokane selling better tasting burgers for less money.

With over 60 years to hone their craft, you’d think Fatburger would be a great burger stand, but at least in my opinion, that’s far from the case.

1706 W Francis Ave, Spokane, WA 99205
(509) 209-2115

Related Reviews

Disagree with my review? That's cool, people have different tastes. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me why you think I got this one wrong. But keep your comments civil or they'll get deleted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *