Sarah and I finally made it across town to visit Fat Head’s Saloon, and we were both happy we did (and a bit sad we don’t live a bit closer).
Fat Head’s is in North Olmsted in the old Danny Boy’s market on the corner of Lorain and Columbia. They did a good job redesigning the space, and the barnlike wooden roof is especially nice. It’s a huge establishment, but the food and house brewed beer are both good enough to merit the size. Our only complaint would be that the music was a tad loud for conversation.
We started with the beer-battered mushrooms. The basket was huge and the mushrooms were fresh, crunchy and flavorful. Sarah is a big fan of fried ‘shrooms, and these were perhaps her all-time favorites (miles beyond BW3’s and even better than Houlihan’s). The horseradish dipping sauce was good, too.
Since Fat Head’s offers 4 oz. sample sizes of their beers, I decided to order a selection. They were all pretty good, but here’s a rundown, moving from my least favorites to the best (which might even appeal to non-beer drinkers):
Gudenhoppy Pils — the name describes it well, but, even as someone who likes hoppy pilsner, this was a bit much for me. Not bad, but I prefer Victory or Sam Adams Noble Pilsners.
Goggle Fogger Hefeweizen - a good and drinkable German wheat, but the banana flavors overshadow the yeasty complexity typical of the style.
Pack-A-Wallop S.P.A. - an American strong ale with lots of hops and strength.
Bumbleberry Honey Ale — A not too sweet fruit beer with full and complex blueberry flavors and subtle honey overtones. The beer and fruit meshed perfectly. I don’t always like fruit beers, but this one was impressive. Sarah had a sip and enjoyed it as well.
Voodoo Monkey Chocolate Stout - I’m a sucker for chocolate in beer, and the 70% dark chocolate really came through on this one. It wasn’t in any way cloying, though.
#1 — A Belgian Saison ale and the first beer Fat Head’s ever brewed. Our server, Sam, accurately described it as similar to chamomille tea. It’s more complex than that, though, while at the same time very drinkable and refreshing.
Sarah had their home brewed root beer and wasn’t a fan. She thought it tasted like diet; I thought it was just crisp and dry (but then again I’m not a big root beer drinker).
In addition to their own beers, Fat Heads also has a great variety of draft and bottled beers from breweries like Founder’s, Great Lakes, New Holland, Bell’s, Flying Dog and Left Hand. But back to the food…
For my entrée I had the “Beauty and the Beasty” Headwich ($9.95), a gargantuan sandwich filled with spicy smoked pulled pork and colesalw. While much of a “headwich” is bread, there was also a huge portion of meat. To get a sense of the size of this thing, note that the big chip on the left is a cross section of a good sized potato.
I took off the top bun and ate the sandwich with a knife and fork. The meat starts out sweet and smoky, but the heat soon kicks in. It was very yummy and satisfying with everything nicely cooled by coleslaw and pickles. I barely touched the excellent fresh fried potato chips or top bun but was still completely stuffed after finishing the lower half.
Sarah ordered the “Parma Karma platter” ($9.95) with banger sausage, kielbasa and bratwurst along with plenty of pierogies and fried onions. The sausages were nicely flavored and particularly notable for the savory smokey char on the outside. The kielbasa was perhaps the best of the three, and the pierogies went down easily as well. The stadium mustard and sour cream were the perfect accompaniments, and the onions were nicely charred and carmelized.
Jonathan had a kid’s burger and fries, which was something like $4-$5 and as big as the adult-sized burgers at many restaurants. He really enjoyed it, though, and finished the burger and a good number of the fries.
We very much enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere at Fat Head’s and look forward to our next visit.