How could you get mad at Fat Sal's, really? Its colloquial Italian slogan -- "We're makin' sandwiches ovah hee-ah!" -- is so perfectly ludicrous you can't even roll your eyes at it. The jowly mascot, an Italian chef bench-pressing a sub sandwich the size of an actual torpedo, comes complete with thick black mustache, dark-as-night Wayfarer shades and a gold pinkie ring slapped onto a stubby hand flashing the shaka brah sign.
It's like the whole thing is pulled from a Build-Your-Own Guy Fieri kit, except they managed to put the sunglasses in the right place.
There are nine Fat Sandwiches to choose from, each with its own level of insanity. The Fat Joey is a take on the iconic Primanti Brothers sandwich in Pittsburgh, which stuffs fries, coleslaw and Russian dressing under the hood. The Fat Juanito rolls you south of the border with a sticky mix of chili, guacamole, pico de gallo, Tapatio and sliced jalapeños.
But for true gluttony, slap down a credit card for the $50 Big Fat Fatty. It's a stunt sandwich (aren't they all at Fat Sal's?) that puts cheesesteak, pastrami, chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, bacon, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, marinara sauce and more in between slices of a 27-inch garlic hoagie. Finish one in 40 minutes and they'll let you create and name your own Fat Sandwich. No word on whether they'll carve the same title into your inevitable tombstone.
It's not all Jersey-style stuffed sandwiches at Fat Sal's Deli. The regular menu board is a mix of classic Italian combos, grilled sausages and a take or two on our favorite West Coast eats: Korean BBQ and carne asada. Fries come standard or laced with their own fatness, in the form of pepperoni slices, bacon and ranch or more cheesesteak toppings. Wraps and salads, while technically available, are grounds for shaming from the fun-loving guys working behind the counter. That is, unless you "MAKE IT FATTER!!!!" by adding on any of the previously listed carnival fare.
Of course, none of this sandwich tomfoolery has slowed down the current iteration of Fat Sal's -- there are outposts in Westwood and San Diego -- at the corner of Fountain and Highland in an impossible-to-navigate strip mall. The late hours and hi-def TVs are perhaps as big a draw as the overstuffed hoagies, pulling in parts of a neighborhood that could always use another fast, reasonably cheap dining option. Especially one that's co-owned by Turtle from Entourage.