It was Greg’s pick this week and that UAB alumni went to UAB student institution Fat Sam’s Sub Sandwiches.
GRT: Cold. A cramped dining room due to a drum set. A little stinky. Slow service. A bathroom worse than the Port O Potties at Bonnaroo. These are all conditions which I was aware of at Fat Sam’s before the BLC visited, but a bro points will still be deducted to keep the review fair.
This was my pick and I wanted to impress with an ole dive from my college days. Being across the street from the UAB School of Business, I have visited Fat Sam’s many a times. It is consistent in all areas, from what I mentioned above (although the drum set hasn’t always been there) to the food. I ordered “The Kitchen Sink”, a massive sandwich with 7 meats and 3 cheeses, lettuce, peppers and a Russian dressing. I was feeling rather famished, so I got a foot long. BIG MISTAKE. The sandwich was hanging over the basket because it was so large. I had to hold one half like a football to eat it. It was large. It was sloppy. It was awesome. The bread was exceptionally fresh and delicious and the meats and cheeses mixed well. My bag of Golden Flake Sweet Heat chips (#RTR #twobestteams #winnertakeall)were a perfect complement to the sandwich. I was only able to make it through half the sandwich. I took the rest home and my brother ate the rest. He was impressed as well.
Mr. Fat Sam was a gracious host. He talked UAB football with us while ordering and took time to come light the space heater in the dining area (while grabbing a smoke, it seems safe). I have always been a fan of the UAB gear spread throughout the restaurant (although someone has stolen the life-size Squeaky Johnson cutout). Overall, it’s not for everyone. But the food is excellent, and you won’t forget the atmosphere. Rating: 3.5 out of 5 bros.
BHT: It was a tough week for me, personally, in terms of food. One of my favorite restaurants (not one we have reviewed) gave me my first case of food poisoning on Wednesday. After barely having 48 hours for my system to… ahem… correct itself, a nice deli sandwich sounded like a great idea. Fat Sam’s has the look of a college dive – inside a seemingly derelict “strip” of what one would think once were businesses. These places tend to have great personality so I was eager to see inside. Upon entering, I was somewhat surprised. The counter and ordering station smelled like a gas station bathroom. The gentleman taking orders was busy yelling at a sandwich maker for making an incorrect sandwich. He appeared more intent on correcting that mistake rather than take my order. This place was already losing bro points and I hadn’t even ordered yet. I went with the footlong “Son of the Italian.” My card was charged, yet I was given no receipt and 60 cents change for what he deemed an “overcharge.” I haven’t received my statement, so this could have been a $52 meal for all I know. The sandwich took twenty or so minutes to make. It was, however, one of the best Italian sandwiches I have ever eaten. However, when you are making a food that anyone can build, atmosphere and customer service should be paramount to your operations. While I appreciate the support of UAB (as seen by the countless sun-washed posters of every sport from the mid-90’s until present), the unique drum set and propane heater inside (!), it still wasn’t enough to warrant another visit. Would I grab it to-go? Probably. Considering my food issues earlier in the week, this visit didn’t help. Decent food and not much else left this bro eager for our next choice – whatever that may be. Overall: 2 out of 5 bros
BME: Fat Sam’s is the first stop on the Birmingham Lunch Club tour that had a drum kit. For no reason. There was no one playing the drum kit. I’m not convinced anyone ever has. It’s a drum kit in a sandwich shop. The bass reads “JAMM” – an instruction on what to do when picking up the sticks.
Fat Sam’s has the largest UAB memorabilia collection known to man, its walls very much like the original Momma Goldberg’s in Auburn, Ala. They are covered with old schedule posters, t-shirts and other items signed by former Blazer athletes. Fat Sam’s has a bar at the door where you can order your sandwich from Sam himself, and on this occassion, ask him about the new Blazers’ hire (He really likes Garrick McGee and thinks “Pitino” will filter all of his unwanted recruits to UAB.) and watch your sandwich be prepared. The bar is surrounded by old arcade games, and people sitting around that sort of just appear to be “hanging out.” The dining area is cooled by a wall unit and heated by a space heater. At one point, Sam thoughfull asked if we were chilly and walked over to the space heater, cigarette still in mouth, to turn it on and warm the place up. Bros, it worked.
I had been to Fat Sam’s once, on the recommendation of Greg. I was underwhelmed with the place, and I had not bothered to return. And on this occassion, it took a half hour to get my Philly Cheese Steak. No lie. But really, speed is the biggest slight I have in this review. Now, I really doubt ladies would enjoy the cleanliness of the place, so I’ll note that also constitutes a reason you may not want to go. So, an update:
1. Make sure you have a lot of time.
2. No dames.
The sandwich was far more generous than I recall. In fact, there is a chance this is the largest sandwich I have ever seen. Greg’s certainly was. While I have never had the Philly at Salem’s (a possible BLC future destination), I have had T-Bone’s (now in Center Point, also a possible future trek). This Philly may not beat T-Bone’s, but it was certainly among the finest I’ve had (NOTE: I have never been to Philadelphia). It was served with greasy fries, which Brad compared to Five Guys appearance. The hoagie roll was massive. The cheese was perfectly melted. I ordered a footlong, and I doubt I hate more than nine inches of it. Probably, like, 7 1/2 inches. In any menu selection, I would suggest sticking with the six inch. I can eat a lot of food, and 12 inches was just too much for me to handle. If you are not fat like I am, I’m betting you may not even finish six inches. Go ahead, bros. Get a six inch. Let me know if you finish all that. I bet it’s real hard.
I recommend Fat Sam’s highly because it’s interesting. I dig the atmosphere. I dig Sam’s accent and conversation. And the sandwich was terrific. As long as you follow my above rules, I think you’ll dig Fat Sam’s, too.
I recommend Fat Sam’s highly because it’s interesting. I dig the atmosphere. I dig Sam’s accent and conversation. And the sandwich was terrific. As long as you follow my above rules, I think you’ll dig Fat Sam’s, too. Overall: 3.5 bros out of 5
JPT: Two words: Shit Sandwich. Overall: 1 bro out of 5
COMPOSITE BRO SCORE: 2.5 bros on a 5 bro scale.