Tuesday November 9th 2010
Fat Mo’s, 351 White Bridge PK and 2620 Franklin PK, Nashville, TN
Fat Mo’s (spelled here at the White Bridge location as one continuous word) is a Nashville area burger stand chain which can be seen furthering the congestion at clogged intersections around town. Two drive up windows, instead of easing cars through in half the time, attracts traffic from all directions, often times resulting in two cars facing head to head attempting to order and people leaning out through the passenger windows, jumbling up the whole parking lot. I almost always opt for the walk up window.
The White Bridge Ave location, in the heart of West Nashville, is the most convenient Fat Mo’s to my house and daily life, yet I always hear it spoken of negatively. Someone’s always saying that one sucks and that the one on 8th Ave (aka Franklin Pike) is better. While driving about en route to the post office before a lengthy session in the EEG isolation booth at Vanderbilt, I found myself thinking of Mo, and unable to recall my last visit, swung by the one on White Bridge and picked up a Fat Mo with cheese.
What had gotten me thinking about Fat Mo’s again recently was this years Best of Nashville poll in the local arts paper, where (apparently clueless) readers vote on their favorite establishments in town. The Best Burger category was given to national chain Five Guys! I mean, yes there are a couple in Nashville, but theres a couple of those things everywhere at this point, and they are pretty decent, but I had imagined that the poll was supposed to feature, you know, specifically local businesses, like Fat Mo’s, which I figured would at least have been a runner up in that category. It was not.
Due to the oppressive sun which beat through the windows of the van in a seasonally uncharacteristic move, I consumed the burger rather hastily in the hotel next door’s parking lot and started to think maybe Mo’s didn’t really have a shot at runner up in that category after all. The burger had been crafted rather carelessly, it was kind of overdone, and with the condiments and accoutrements all huddled on one side, extremely hard to handle . I opened it up to take a picture of the inside, but no one would have wanted to see that, so I settled for the side shot, during which an unidentified juice leaked out onto the crotch of my pants. I chomped through the rest of it emotionlessly and continued on with my day.
A few hours later there I was, in the Vanderbilt isolation booth, insane cranial wire cap affixed to my head, doing a study on musical notation. My focus however lied on Fat Mo’s and the clumsy burger I had just eaten there. Thoughts ran through my head; Is the one on 8th actually better? Does a national chain actually make the best burger in this city? And then I realized as the study attendant yelled at me for moving too much for the third time, that when this was all over, which hopefully was going to be real soon, I was to be paid $35. That Fat Mo with cheese was starting to wear off, the onset of hunger was creeping back in, was a side by side, a Mo to Mo comparison in order? I shrugged the thought away at first. You can’t go to Fat Mo’s twice in one day you filthy bastard! What an awful idea! Go home and make some food, save the $35. But then the other side spoke up. Hey, a side by side would be good for the blog. There isn’t really anything to eat at home anyways. I’m already like halfway to 8th ave. What am I gonna do with this $35? Save it?
“I guess I’m really doing this.”, I thought to myself driving down 8th Ave, pulling into the Mo’s lot, and walking through the cars up to the window. I ordered yet again, the Fat Mo with cheese, and then with all abandon for my recent earnings, some spicy fries, and something I’d seen their marquee advertising which held by attention, the fried pickle. The first thing I noticed (besides spicy being spelled spisy and onions onoins on the menu), was that it was taking a lot longer to get the food, which I think is a good thing. Everything is apparently made fresh to order here, which had startled me a bit at the White Bridge one, because the burger was ready in no time, I half expected it rare which made its dryness that much more surprising.
Now lets talk about that pickle. $2.75 for one pickle dipped in some batter and made disgusting I thought was a little steep, but I was willing to try it, and actually you get your moneys worth, because you get a platter of spears, equaling I would assume close to one and 3/4ths pickles. It reminded me of a cheap mozzarella stick that had been under cooked in the microwave, where the scalding batter holds its form like a suit of armor and the chilled insides bounce around in the center. The soggy texture and strong vinegar taste of wilted pickle mixed with the grease soaked dull crunch of the battered shell did little to impress me, and in the end I found the portion to be quite too large.
The 8th Ave Fat Mo, was I gotta say, a lot better than the White Bridge one. For starters it had been made with some level of precision, the toppings (which included a few not seen on my White Bridge burger) were all evenly dispersed, and with all the weight distributed evenly, no threat of crumbling or spillage was detected. The only thing was, and I suspect this to be my fault and not Fat Mo’s, that I felt worse after eating at the 8th Ave one, even the next day. Yes, possibly because it was my second Fat Mo of the day, which I know is wrong, and maybe throwing in the fried pickles and fries didn’t help either, but what can I say, I had to find out which one was better, if the rumors were true, and now we all know.