With the beginning of football season comes the beginning of sports bar season as well. Although I lack any concrete proof, I imagine that the period from September through January is probably a sports bar’s best season. Wichita has a good selection of local sports bars and it seems like everyone has their favorite. Fat Tony’s, located at 417 E. Douglas, is a somewhat recent addition to the scene, but with their giant TV screen and food challenges they are trying to separate themselves from the rest.
The first thing you are drawn to at Fat Tony’s is the large projection screen at the back of the building that displays life size sporting action. Other TVs line the adjoining walls, making it rather challenging to concentrate on any one game or even the person sitting next to you. Glancing over the menu, all seemed rather mundane with the typical offerings of burgers, salads, sandwiches, etc offered, until I came upon the food challenges. The three challenges include: A 9 pound burger with all the fixings and a pound of fries that must be consumed in 45 minutes, a wing challenge with Tony’s signature nuclear sauce, and a five pound Philly cheesesteak with a pound of fries that has to be eaten in 30 minutes. All of these feats seem a bit daunting given the time restraints, but I’m sure that some highly trained eating athlete could pull them off.
Steph and I were both in the mood for a burger, so we went with the basic half pound burger with cheese. The small kitchen is set up in the middle of the dining area, giving patrons the opportunity to watch the cooks in action. One thing I did catch was the bag of frozen fries that the cook pulled out and dumped into the fryer. It was a bit disappointing to see them cutting corners like that.
I was happy to see that our burgers had not been overcooked when they arrived. There was still a bit of pink in the middle, which is hard to get in a burger these days. The patties were moist, but could have used some additional seasoning. All in all I would have to say it was a slightly above average burger. The fries could not overcome the fact they had been pulled from the freezer bag, as they tasted rather industrial.
Fat Tony’s passes the litmus test for a respectable sports bar. Decent food, obscenely large and numerous TV’s and plenty of cold beer. Plus they are one of the few places in town that offers eating challenges.