For years, Fatburger seemed a mythical place only referenced by rappers Ice Cube and the late Notorious B.I.G. Leave it up to fellow rapper Kanye West to deliver Chicagoland its first Fatburger right across the street from the Orland Park Place Shopping Center. This popular California-based chain lives up to its name with mastodon-sized patties topped with heart-stopping ingredients like fried eggs and chili.
Neon lights, diner-style seating and vintage posters on powder blue walls makes for an authentic looking '50s burger stand, the kind Fatburger started off as back in 1952. Plasmas and a digital jukebox (where selections are free) modernize this space.
Visiting before a day of shopping or a game of bowling sets the mode for good times. The clientele represent a global gob of people gone bananas over Maui Banana shakes and "bring a wheel barrow" burgers - the name of the largest sized triple cheeseburger. Dates share hand-scooped ice cream shakes and a guys-night-out gang fills airspace with boisterous chatter. Several kids and teens zip from stools near an open kitchen to the jukebox where somehow, a Kanye West tune always manages to play.
Unlike most chains, burgers here are made to order with 100 percent, never frozen, pure lean beef. First timers eager to try it all (a fat burger topped with a fried egg and bacon, fat fries, homemade onion rings and a Coke) break the bank with an almost $20 tab. Luckily, the distance for most Chicagoans won’t mean making Fatburger a weekly habit, that is until West eventually expands the chain within city limits, slated to happen later this year.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez