Was I Happy at Happy Fatz?
Photo by John Suh
Or was I just really feeling fat(z)? For those who don't skulk around the Heights looking for new places to prowl like me, perhaps you haven't stumbled upon this little dessert/coffee/hot dog shop. When I first heard about Happy Fatz, I thought it was an interesting concept. Who would've thought to put together frankfurters, cappuccinos, and cupcakes? But, the idea just sounded so right. Now I can satisfy my craving for an unhealthy all-American meal; follow it with unhealthy sweets; and then to fight the food coma, chase it with loads of caffeine so I can stay till closing time and pretend to do work on their wifi even as my head and my stomach fight over which will explode first.
Open for less than two months, Happy Fatz is one of the many newcomers to this booming part of town. And like its many Heights counterparts, it's housed inside a bungalow, which offers its patrons that "come hither and dine in my house like we're old friends" feel that is so coveted nowadays thanks to our growing cyber-dependency. There's a the quintessential wraparound porch, the hollow sound of footsteps on floorboards and the wooden furniture set cozily close to one another to promote (heaven forbid) conversations with strangers. At first glance, Happy Fatz fulfills every notion of a charming "mom-n-pop" shop typical of the Heights, and charmed I was.
Photo by John Suh
That is, until I had to wait more than five minutes for someone to take my order even though I was first in line at the counter. And another thirty minutes for my order to come out. I will say that as a new business (and therefore not likely to be a well-lubed machine quite yet), the wait was forgivable, especially with cucumber-lemon water flowing freely from the self-serve cooler. The more time that passed, the higher my expectation became for my hot dog.
I ordered the Clucker, a hot dog version of a breakfast sandwich complete with hash browns, a fried egg, and hot sauce. My companion ordered the Lotus Blossom which comes served on a jalapeno bun, stuffed with white pimento cheese, and topped with spinach and red cabbage. There are a dozen different hot dogs on the menu to choose from, but you can also customize your own hot dog. Desire a frank topped with chili, baked beans, bacon, and grilled onions on a pretzel bun? It can happen. You get no choice with the wiener though; it's always a kosher Hebrew National frank.
The hot dogs are around $8 a piece and come with a side: your choice of cole slaw, kettle chips, or fruit du jour (which happened to be watermelon the day I went). I asked for chips but got the cole slaw instead. I didn't bother sending it back because the slaw, with its touch of delicious herbs (can anyone tell me if it's dill or cilantro or something entirely different?), was still a happy choice.
The hot dog is humongous, and I had to battle it with a knife and fork. In the end, the hot dogs were good, but nothing I probably couldn't make at home for a third of the cost. The price point seems a little steep, but if it were the last hot dog shop standing after a hurricane, I'd definitely dish out the dollars. Especially since they've got such friendly service and that oh-so-cool cucumber water.
Been here before? What do you think of the dogs?
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