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Fat Albert’s Restaurant

April 23, 2017

  • 6854 S. Ashland Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60636
  • (773) 737-6161
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

Every summer I explain how my dad, my brother, and my best friend from  high school go to a White Sox game.  We get wings, drink beer in the parking, and generally just catch up.  It’s the one time of the year that all four of us get together.

This year’s game was kind of thrown together.  We’re all getting busy with life and finding an open weekend for the four of us is getting hard.  I forgot that I’m reliving my childhood on May 13th and going to see New Kids on the Block…which screwed up our original date.  My brother is busy basically all summer and the only weekend we could find was in April. That day wasn’t good for me, but I was determined to make it work.

J will typically go with me on game weekend and stay at her parents.  Her parents were in Florida looking for a Snow Bird House the Saturday I was going to the game so she didn’t want to go home.  She had a lot to do on that day anyway, so going to Chicago didn’t really work for her.

I decided this was going to be a day trip, but I really didn’t want to park at the ballpark and pay the $20.  I decided instead to park at the CTA Park and Ride at 63rd and Ashland and hop on the Green Line.  That would take me to Bronzeville and put me within three blocks of the park….and would only cost me $5.

I can’t go to Chicago without getting an Italian beef.  I did some looking to see if there was any place to go after the game.  I found a couple places in neighborhoods I’m not sure I wanted to be in that late at night so I timed my drive to get to one of those places before the I had to get on the train to get to the park.

The place I found was Fat Albert’s Restaurant on Ashland Avenue just north of West 69th Street in Chicago’s West Englewood Neighborhood.  The restaurant is tucked in to an older neighborhood center with other businesses, restaurants,  and boarded up buildings.

The shop is 24/7 and has a pretty typical menu for this type of neighborhood joint.  They brag about their Italian beef but also have polish sausages, gyros, burgers, hot dogs, chicken and fish sandwiches….they even have a small breakfast menu if you’re not in the mood for that Italian beef at 7:00 in the morning.

There is no dining room at Fat Albert’s.  There is a pretty large space inside, but there are no tables.  It’s a big, open room with stand up counters along the wall.  There’s an ATM in one corner.  The restaurant is cash only, but if you forget, there’s a machine conveniently located right in the building to save your behind.

The order and pickup windows are both behind bullet proof glass and the menu is posted above it on the old style felt boards.  There are also posters hanging on the walls with special and new items.  The lady taking my order was a little hard to hear behind the glass.  There is just a slit at the bottom open wide enough to slip cash underneath.

I put in my order for an Italian beef, dipped, with hot peppers and a large order of fries.  The lady asked how dipped I wanted my beef.  I said dunk the whole thing and leave it in for a little bit.  She laughed a little and said ok.  The total bill came out to just under $9.  I luckily had a $10 bill in my pocket so I didn’t have to hit up the ATM.

There were a few people in front of me, so it took about ten minutes for my food to come up.  Just like the order window, the pick up window as behind glass.  They have one of those turnstiles that they can lock so you can’t reach in.  The order was called up through a speaker and then spun around to me.  The man who cooked the order threw a fork in and said to me, “You’re going to need this.”

I grabbed the bag and headed over to one of the counters.  I would never attempt to eat an Italian beef while in transit, but I had a feeling this one was going to be extra sloppy.

I popped open the Styrofoam container that was trying to hold in all the juices from the gravy. Just like I asked, they dipped the whole thing and probably let it sit there for a little bit.  There was no structure left to the bread.  The soggy mess that used to be the bun was filled with thinly sliced that was a little bit tougher than I would have liked and topped with a really spicy giardiniera that was a good mix of several pickled vegetables.   The fork was an absolute necessity to this sandwich and actually made it enjoyable.  The gravy had such a strong, beefy flavor that permeated throughout the meat and through the bread

I really needed to get down the street to the train station, so as soon as I was finished with beef, I grabbed the bag of fries and headed back to my car.  The fries were extremely hot even after waiting to eat them until my sandwich was gone.  The fries were really nothing special and could have used a little more salt, but they helped cool my mouth back down after spicy giardiniera kind of took over.

Fat Albert’s Restaurant is a solid neighborhood joint with an above solid Italian beef.  I’ve had better in the city, but I would be in heaven if I had access to a sandwich that was even half as good as this one was on a regular basis.  The store doesn’t look like much and it’s placement next to a liquor store can be intimidating, but this beef isn’t something to shrug off as just another Chicago beef sandwich.


Fat Albert's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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