I still remember when my buddy John told me about Fat Sal’s. “They make these amazing giant sandwiches,” he said. It was was the way he said it. His tone was, I can’t believe this place exists in L.A. Someone made a restaurant for guys who combine their eating with their not having a sense of shame. You know, guys like us. For anyone like us, Fat Sal’s fills a psychological need. It’s like OK, Los Angeles, you can have all these cold-pressed juice places and your $11 Brussels sprouts, but we get Fat Sal’s. [Waves sword made entirely of bacon at healthy people.] You can pry it from our warm, greasy fingers!
With the local sandwich chain recently expanding from Westwood and Hollywood to Encino, I took a few coworkers to Fat Sal’s where we tried all nine Fat Sandwiches and ranked them for the noble purpose of digital journalism.
9. Fat Anthony
Ham | salami | pepperoni | provolone | chicken fingers | mozzarella sticks | shredded lettuce | tomato | fries | red wine vinaigrette | marinara | on a hero
Each Fat Sandwich is a sort of drunken homage to a classic. The Fat Anthony combines two classics: the chicken parm, and the cold cut Italian hero. The two come together in a McDLT of hot and cold. This will either be your most favorite or least favorite. It’s a divisive sandwich. A sandwich of extremes. The Fat Anthony is the sandwich of our times.
8. Fat Jaime
Grilled ham | chicken fingers | grilled fresh jalapeños | grilled onions | melted mozzarella | sliced avocado| shredded lettuce | tomato | fries | mayo | Tapatio | fresh squeezed lime juice | on a hero
This is the Fat Sal’s take on the torta especial and a prime example of how Fat Sal’s acknowledges convention without bowing to it. Grilled ham? Yes, of course. Chicken fingers? Most places would say nah. But Fat Sal’s co-owners Josh Stone and Sal Capek don’t do nah. Where timid men halt in the face or propriety, they charge in with fries, and if you embrace their love of appetizers on sandwiches you will love their gifts to the world.
7. Fat Buffalo
Chicken fingers | mozzarella sticks | melted cheddar | fries | Buffalo hot sauce | blue cheese dressing | on a hero
The Fat Buffalo is a reminder that the real hero at Fat Sal’s isn’t the fries or the chicken fingers. It’s the bread. The sandwiches–loaded with sauces, meats, and melted cheeses–ask the bread to do a lot of lifting. Fat Sal’s sources its bread from Normandie Bakery, and the bread gets a good proofing because Fat Sal’s can defy convention, but it cannot defy physics.
6. Fat Mona
Fried eggs | ham | crisp bacon | grilled onions | melted American and mozzarella | fries | ketchup | salt and pepper | on a butter grilled hero
Technically they’re all breakfast sandwiches when you roll out of bed at noon. But this is the actual breakfast sandwich on the menu. Pro tip: if you cut any of these sandwiches into thirds, eat the middle section first. It has the highest density of delicious in it.
5. Fat Texas
BBQ pastrami | brisket | chicken fingers | mozzarella sticks| crisp bacon | grilled onions | melted cheddar and mozzarella| fries | mayo | honey BBQ sauce | on a garlic hero
This is the second-most popular sandwich on the menu because every ingredient it contains is what’s good in life. When you drop in a couple of jalapenos, the Fat Texas goes next level.
4. Fat Jerry
Thinly-sliced ribeye steak | grilled onions | melted American | chicken fingers | mozzarella sticks | crisp bacon | fried egg | fries | mayo | ketchup | salt and pepper | on a hero
The Fat Jerry is the quintessential Fat Sandwich and the most popular one on the menu (you thought it was the Fat Sal, but you thought wrong and you should rethink everything you thought you knew about sandwich popularity). The Fat Jerry is co-owner Josh Stone’s go-to.
3. Fat Sal
Roast beef | mozzarella sticks | onion rings| fries | brown gravy | mayo | on a garlic hero
Co-owner Sal Capek’s go-to is The Fat Sal, with its subtler flavors. No, “Subtler flavors” are not two words I thought I’d write in relation to Fat Sal’s, but, look, our president is a former TV game show host who once used the word “schlonged” as a verb and still got elected so let’s not be shocked by anything anymore, OK? The Fat Sal, with its roast beef, gravy, and garlic hero, has appreciable subtle flavors.
2. Fat Joey
Pastrami | turkey | melted Swiss | cole slaw | fries | Russian dressing | on a hero
I tried all of these sandwiches with two other people, and when we got to the Fat Joey I looked around the table like, “Are you guys tasting this? Aren’t you glad none of us died on the way to the restaurant so we could be alive in this moment to stuff this magnificent sandwich into our faces?” No one else shared my enthusiasm. I don’t care. I love this sandwich with a passion that is stronger than mild peer pressure. It would have been No. 1 were it not for the unexpected greatness of the…
1. Fat Banh Mi-Ki
Sweet and spicy soy marinated thinly sliced ribeye steak | Vietnamese pickled vegetables | onion rings | Szechuan slaw | tomato | fresh jalapeños | cilantro | Sriracha | teriyaki glaze | mayo | on a garlic hero
Of all these sandwiches, it’s the most complex. It’s sweet, spicy, savory, tart, crunchy, and creamy. It’s also lacking most of the stunt foods—chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries—found on the other Fat Sandwiches. (Just onion rings.) It noticeably stands out from the rest. The Fat Banh Mi-Ki is like when there’s a group of friends in high school, and they’re always getting in trouble with the authorities, but there’s one guy who’s a little different, a little special, not like the others. He can get out of this devil town if he just believes in his sketch drawings enough to show them to his guidance counselor, because there is beauty and soul and a life force inside him, if only he would stop rejecting himself before the world gets a chance to. Enroll in that community college, Fat Banh Mi-Ki, and never look back.
Fat Sal’s locations: Encino, Hollywood, and Westwood
RELATED: Every Pizza at Pizzanista!, Ranked