If Fat Shack could be described by one dish on its menu, it's the Fat Shack sandwich, which weighs 1 to 2 pounds: a cheesesteak with fried chicken fingers, jalapeno poppers, fried mozzarella sticks, french fries and onion rings on a bun.
Dieters beware, Fat Shack is not hiding the fact that it sells bad-for-you food.
"Part of our concept is we're not trying to hide anything," says co-owner Kevin Gabauer. "We're serving awesome, deep-fried food."
Gabauer and co-owner Tom Armenti have launched Fat Shacks in Colorado and New Jersey and expect to open Texas' first carb-loaded outpost on April 26 in Denton.
There is more to order at Fat Shack besides a sandwich stacked with fried ingredients, both co-owners point out. Like, there's also deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Twinkies and a short list of milkshakes.
Also, Fat Shack will deep fry nearly anything you bring into the restaurant for just $1.
That's right: Bring a Snickers, in the packaging, and they'll fry it. Bring a slice of pizza from the place down the street and they'll deep fry it.
The co-owners point out that there are "normal" options on the menu, such as wings, Philly cheesesteaks and burgers. But the "big daddies," Armenti says of the oversized sandwiches with fried innerds, are the items that have made Fat Shack live up to its name.
Plenty of Texas restaurants sell unhealthy food like Fat Shack does. One of the most surprising examples was Heart Attack Grill, a short-lived restaurant in Dallas that saw scantily-clad nurses serving food under the tagline "Taste Worth Dying For." The State Fair of Texas also hosts a special fried food contest every year, and the entries have gotten increasingly wacky, such as last year's fried carrot cake or 2014's chicken-fried loaded baked potato. The Texas Rangers have tried a swath of fried things, including the 2-foot-long deep-fried brownie that debuted in 2015.
The co-owners of Fat Shack say they generally eat healthy themselves. "But we want to have a 'fat' sandwich or a burger every once in awhile," Gabauer says. "We're here to be that spot for someone to come and eat something awesome -- something not in their typical diet."
Fat Shacks are mostly located in college towns, the owners say, which is why they landed in Denton, near the University of North Texas. If the opening goes well, Fat Shack might expand to Austin.
Despite the oversized sandwiches that made Fat Shack famous, Gabauer and Armenti promise they're not too large to physically fit in your mouth. (You know the kind.) "We take pride in how we put it together," Armenti says: They stack the ingredients and wrap it tightly so it can be eaten without knife and fork.
Fat Shack expected to open at 508 S. Elm Street in Denton April 26. fatshack.com.
For more D-FW food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.