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A Kissimmee original continues —Fat Boy’s beats test of time

Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 10:23 am



By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

It is more than a barbecue restaurant.

Fat Boy’s Bar-B-Que, which has been around since 1971, is more like a museum to an Osceola County ranching lifestyle that goes back more than 125 years.

Many of the photos that adorn the walls of the legendary Kissimmee restaurant, have faded with time. They are like friendly ghosts of barbecue’s past, who still look down on contemporary diners, enjoying the restaurant’s staple meals of chicken, pork and beef.

It was because of that long, Osceola tradition that Chris Carter, could not let the place close up or become just another fast food enterprise on U.S. highway 192.

Hardees was close to being a done deal earlier this spring, when plans changed and Carter, who also operates another famous Kissimmee restaurant, Pizza City, made an offer on the place.

Now she owns two of the county’s most popular restaurants.

There aren’t too many quiet moments at the restaurant, it has always been a popular lunch spot, but when things slow down, or she is not managing the pizza restaurant, Carter enjoys taking a walk through some of that history.

Despite a fire that did some extensive damage to the restaurant in 2000, most of the photos and memorabilia were saved.

“They saved a lot of the pictures, some go back to 1971,” she said. In addition to the photos, the walls include the branding marks of all of the county’s famous ranching families.

While she has only owned the place a few months, Carter is not a stranger to Fat Boy’s.

“I worked here for 18 years,” she said, before she started work at Pizza City. “I even hired some of the ladies that are still working here.” All of the employees at Fat Boy’s are restaurant veterans.

The place is just full of tradition, and none of that will be changing under Carter’s watch.

Yes, all of those lunch specials are still on the menu (pork, beef, chicken and more), the dining tables still have the branding marks of Osceola ranchers and country music is the only music you will hear on the restaurant sound system.

And, yes, the bowl of Dum Dum lollipops — root beer, cotton candy, sour apple, orange and more — are still free at the checkout counter, but as always, one per customer please.

Fat Boy’s can boast a brand new tradition, one that actually goes back several years from another famous Kissimmee restaurant: The Liar’s Table.

“They are here every morning,” Carter said. The group of long-time Osceola residents were permanent fixtures at the outside tables at Joanie’s Diner in downtown Kissimmee. But they moved indoors to Fat Boy’s when new management took over.

Breakfast at Fat Boy’s begins earlier now, at least partially because the group of 20 or so, are early risers and are often there at 6 a.m.

And while coffee is the mainstay, a lot of them take advantage of the new breakfast special, featured Monday-Friday: Two eggs, home fries or grits, toast or biscuit and the choice of one: bacon, sausage patty or links, for $4.99. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m.

Fat Boy’s still offers one of the better menus in Osceola County, especially if you are a barbecue fan.

Carter said new items on the menu include pulled chicken, fish and home made soups.

“A lot of people were asking about pulled chicken and fish on Fridays so we added them,” she said. There also is a daily special every day and homemade desserts.

But for the most part, this is the same Fat Boy’s locals and visitors have back for time after time.

“We smoke every day, so the quality is consistent,” she said.

Lunch specials are all priced at about $8.50 and include the most popular items at the restaurant, sliced pork, beef, turkey and barbecue chicken. All luncheon specials are served with two sides and two slices of garlic bread.

The sides at Fat Boy’s are somewhat legendary at this point, and include baked potato, baked sweet potato, French fries, barbecue beans, cole slaw, green beans, applesauce, macaroni and cheese and corn on the cob.

Make sure you check out the value meals if you want to save a few bucks. The barbecue items are very limited, but you can have a hamburger, sliced meat and other items, with a side item and a drink, starting at $4.80.

The child and senior menu (under 12 and over 50) also features some welcome discounts at $5.75 and $6.75 for one-quarter barbecue chicken, ribs and more. It includes garlic bread and one side item.

The salad bar, which is $7.25, is also priced at $5.75 for seniors and youngsters.

There also are daily all you can eat plates, various special meal plates and more.

Catering has also become a lot more popular since Carter took over the restaurant as well.

Fat Boy’s is open daily, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. The restaurant is located at 1606 W. Vine St.