It's been referenced by Notorious B.I.G., Ice Cube and the Beastie Boys, but I wasn't feeling the music when I paid a recent visit to Fatburger's latest South Florida franchise on Miracle Mile. Maybe you have to be chowing down at 2am to be inspired (which is impossible here since 10pm is as late as the fast-food, '50s-style diner stays open in Coral Gables). Or maybe I've been to one too many pricey burger joints with 5 buck chucks. Fatburger, based in California, is up there with In-N-Out Burger when it comes to burger cult chains. Franchise owners around the United States include Kanye West, Pharell and Queen Latifah. With street cred like that, I was hoping for an old school sloppy double-chili-cheese-with-an-egg burger squeezed between two moist buns. Instead, what I got was a neat-and-tidy, non-juicy sandwich that, with all the extra charges for toppings, came to almost $8.
There are reasons to give Fatburger another fat chance. If you like burgers that are lean, well-seasoned and come charred on the outside, this may be your place. The onion rings were crisp and not too greasy. And the milkshakes…banana and cookies-n-cream, in addition to the traditional chocolate, vanilla and strawberry … are made with real ice cream. Burgers here are ordered by size, with five options. Skip the small. At 2.5 ounces, even my 10-year-old daughter was hungry afterward. The medium (5.3 ounces) is a typical burger and plenty big enough, unless you want to go right for the heart attack with a 24-ounce XXXL. Burgers come with tomato, lettuce, onions, pickles, relish, mustard and mayo. Add-ons of cheese, bacon, fried egg or chili will cost about $1 each. There are also veggie and turkey burgers on whole wheat buns. The hefty toppings on my turkey burger kept it moist and made it a respectable meal. Maybe they need to start calling it Fatbird.