According to franchise owner Kevin Goetz, the Fat Shack restaurant chain is taking the “cheat menu” to another level.
Goetz, a Topeka resident, is a co-owner of the Fat Shack, which will soon open in the center of Topeka at 1418 SW Lane St. He told the Topeka Capital journal this week that the restaurant plans to officially open its doors on Tuesday.
Fat Shack – known for its burgers, wings, and “fat sandwiches” – has approximately 22 locations nationwide, including two other established restaurants in Kansas. The Topeka spot connects Lawrence and Manhattan and becomes the company’s third sunflower location.
“Topeka is a great place,” said Goetz. “We have wanted a place here in Topeka for ages and this is the time.”
Discover Fat Shack
According to Goetz, he and his business partner Christian Smith, who lives in Gardner, have been in the restaurant business for almost a decade. In addition to the Topeka Fat Shack, they own a few Firehouse Subs locations nearby and the Fat Shack branch in Manhattan.
Goetz said he and Smith first heard about Fat Shack when they saw the company’s owners perform in the 2019 season 10 finale of Shark Tank – a reality TV show that seeks to match investors with entrepreneurs .
“We just loved it. We loved the concept,” said Goetz. “The fraudulent food is fun and they do it right.”
Goetz and Smith, who together form the ATQI Partners group, opened the Manhattan Fat Shack in early 2020.
It was an instant hit with the city’s college audiences, Goetz said, especially just before COVID-19 hit the area.
“We’re down in Aggieville, Manhattan,” he said. “When we opened this place – we’re right next to two bars, but – it was like a party. I mean, the lobby was full. It was before COVID, and we were probably at maximum capacity every four or five hours that night.”
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Not only does it appeal to the wider Topeka community, but it also hopes to attract a similar clientele in the capital, as the new restaurant is just blocks from Washburn University.
“I went to Washburn,” he said. “I graduated there, so we have pretty good connections there.”
One of the things that make Fat Shack so special, Goetz said, is that they open much later than most fast-paced burger joints. The Topeka Fat Shack is expected to be open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Fat Shack’s Topeka facility opens
The building where Fat Shack is located used to be the College Hill Pizza Pub, which closed its doors in late 2019. Although the exterior of the building looks largely the same, the interior is getting a facelift, swapping pizza for hearty portions of fried food.
Goetz said they are renting the space from Hugh Renyer, who has worked with him and Smith in the past.
“We knew we would do more (Fat Shacks). We were just so happy with the brand,” said Goetz. “Hugh is the owner of this building and he called and said, ‘I think I have a place for you. Come and see.’ And we did it. We looked and it was perfect. “
Although Goetz said they have already hired most of the crew who will work at the new location, he welcomes more applicants.
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“We are always looking for qualified employees,” he said. “We’re growing and that’s the intent.”
New employees would join people like José Narvaez, the restaurant’s general manager.
Narvaez from Topeka worked at the Manhattan Fat Shack site and has been with Goetz and Smith for about three years.
“He was a big part of our company,” said Goetz.
He noted that running the business was a lot of fun. When it comes to the Fat Shack menu, he added, “People join in.”
He said the “Fat Shack” sandwich was probably the restaurant’s most popular product. It consists of cheesesteak, chicken fingers, jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, onion rings and sauce, all served on a roll.
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One of his personal favorites is the “Fat Doobie” – a sandwich with chicken fingers, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and honey mustard. But he’s also a fan of the classic burger or wings.
“I’m probably more of a wingman than anything, but the Fat Doobie is the way to go,” said Goetz.
Narvaez said his favorite sandwich is the “Fat Hangover,” which has fried eggs, American cheese, sausage, bacon, french fries, onion rings, and a sauce. For dessert, he enjoys the fried cheesecake bites.
According to Goetz, the food speaks for itself.
“There is no such thing in Topeka,” he said. “You really won’t.”
And he pointed out that this may not be the last Fat Shack location he and his business associate will open as it is not off the table bringing “fat sandwiches” to other Kansas communities.
“Hopefully you’ll see us all the way through Kansas City,” he said.