Sandwiches reach a new high at Fat Sal’s in Pacific Beach
By Kelley Carlson
When it comes to food from Fat Sal’s, the rule is that there are no rules. Located in the heart of Pacific Beach, this sandwich shop – owned by longtime pals Josh Stone, Sal Capek and Jerry Ferrara (of “Entourage” fame) — brings unconventional sandwich combinations to the table. It’s perhaps best known for its “Fat Sandwiches” — sub rolls that intermix meats, fried foods and assorted condiments — with a bit of New York style.
Many of the “Fat Sandwiches” are named for their creators, whose imaginations seemingly ran wild. For example, the Fat Sal (named for Capek) melds thinly sliced Boar’s Head roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries, brown gravy and mayo on a garlic hero.
There’s also Ferrara’s Fat Jerry, which merges breakfast and lunch items: cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, bacon, fried eggs, fries, mayo, ketchup, salt and pepper, also on a hero.
The daddy of them all is the Big Fat Fatty, a 27-inch, 10-pound behemoth that contains practically everything but the kitchen sink: cheesesteak, cheeseburgers, pastrami, chicken fingers, bacon, mozzarella sticks, fried eggs, jalapeño poppers, fries, onion rings, chili, marinara and fat sauce.
If you finish it in 40 minutes or less, it’s free and you get a sandwich named after you. If you fail, you have to pay the hefty $50 bill. According to Stone and Capek, at least 20 people have tried it – unsuccessfully – at the PB location. However, two people rose up to the challenge and conquered it at the original site in Westwood/UCLA.
Subsequently, there are subs that now carry the monikers of Fat Jaime and Fat Banh Miki, the latter a play on the sweet-and-spicy Vietnamese banh mi sandwich.
Toward the holidays, there are specialty sandwiches offered such as the Fat Pilgrim, which is essentially Thanksgiving dinner between two slices of bread, including roasted turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and fries.
The menus are similar at each Fat Sal’s location – there’s also a site in Hollywood and one under construction in Austin, Texas – with a unique sandwich at each one that’s geared toward the community it’s in. For the relatively new PB site, Stone and Capek are entertaining the idea of a fish taco on a sub, and they’re soliciting feedback via Twitter, Facebook and in-store.
Naturally, to accompany these Fat Sandwiches, there are Fat Fries – but the portion is large enough to be a stand-alone meal or to share among buddies. Fries are piled high on an 8-inch round aluminum tin, with toppings such as Buffalo Chicken Cheese.
Then there are the shakes. There are standard flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and coffee, but of course, there is the “Fat” version. They’re so thick, they’re served with boba straws and a spoon. One kind blends vanilla ice cream with an entire slice of New York cheesecake, strawberries and graham cracker crumbs.
But not everything is “fat” at Fat Sal’s. There are hot dogs and Angus burgers that are never frozen.
On the lighter side, there are wraps and salads, including a Spinach Chicken Salad with a mixture of grilled and marinated chicken breast pieces, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, Granny Smith apples and balsamic vinaigrette. Stone also revealed there is a secret-but-not-so-secret menu that can be found online, or guests can ask the employees.
As one might expect of a sandwich shop, Fat Sal’s is a casual place to visit. It’s easy to kick back at a community table and watch a game on a flat-screen TV while observing people strolling along Garnet Avenue. Old-school hip-hop and reggae tunes enhance the East Coast vibe. After a day at the beach, some customers enjoy hanging out on the back patio, which features a semi-covered astrodome. Parking for Fat Sal’s is on the street
Fat Sal’s Deli
Address: 956 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Phone: (855) 682-4373
The Vibe: Casual, relaxed
Signature Dishes: Fat Sal, Fat Jerry, Fat Texas BBQ
Open Since: 2013
Patio Seating: Yes
Happy Hour: No
Hours: Open at 11 a.m. daily. Closes around 1 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, around 2 a.m. Sundays and Wednesdays, and around 3 a.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: Fat Sal’s Irresistible Italiano Sub
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