Murray • Eating a Philly cheesesteak is a rite of passage on the East Coast.
Pilgrimages are made to favorite shops, with grandparents and parents introducing the sandwich to younger generations.
In most of the shops in Philadelphia, where the sandwich was invented, there are certain rules to ordering, and loyal followings of one location over another have been known to cause family strife and physical confrontations.
Yes, a sandwich can inspire that kind of passion.
The Philly cheesesteak scene is different in Utah. Although a few spots have offered a version of the sandwich loaded with beef and cheese, few have specialized in the monster offering in the way that Fat Boy Phillies has in 2018.
The menu at the restaurant on State Street in Murray is small and concise. You’ll find the original cheesesteak ($8), a chicken cheesesteak ($8), a meatball sub ($8) and a cheeseburger ($8), with occasional additions and variations added to the wall-size menu or announced on a sandwich board or social media.
No surprise, says Fat Boy Phillies owner Anthony Duran, that the original cheesesteak is the top customer request. It’s loaded with thinly sliced and grilled ribeye and filet, a choice of Cheez Whiz or provolone, and a variety of grilled vegetables as additions. Duran said most Salt Lake City customers prefer provolone rather than the Cheez Whiz that is popular in the East.
Having sampled both versions in Philly and at Fat Boy, I tend to agree. While the Cheez Whiz brings additional moisture to the tender, juicy meat, it also adds saltiness. With the addition of grilled mushrooms, peppers and onions (called “loaded”) and a housemade jalapeño mayo sauce drizzled on top, the melted provolone is ideal — particularly when eating the second half of the sandwich as a leftover. Big eaters can also add a spicy sausage to their Philly for $1 more or try the Anaheim chile Philly for $9.
Guests can also satisfy their cheesesteak fix by having the meat and cheese served over fries. I enjoyed the Philly fries ($5) because of the smaller portion size and higher meat-to-carb ratio in addition to a more even coating of Cheez Whiz and mayo on each bite.
The cheesesteaks and meatball sub at Fat Boy Phillies are served on rolls that required a lot of taste testing and tweaking with a Utah bakery, Duran said. While this choice does not have the Philly-made Amoroso roll authenticity, it was a wise decision to use a local business to ensure freshness and the stability needed to hold in all the wet ingredients.
Fat Boy fans have plenty of love for the meatball sub, too. Subtle flavors are packed into the giant rounds covered in tangy marinara sauce. Provolone and Parmesan wrap this offering that could easily feed a small family.
The meatballs are made in house using Duran’s special recipe. “I learned and loved cooking at my mother’s knee,” he says, adding that the teachers in his high school culinary courses realized he had a “knack for seasoning and making things taste good.”
Fat Boy Phillies is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and lines of customers are common. The hours, so far, have helped the restaurant balance employee schedules, family time and crowds, although, Duran said, he is considering longer hours in the future.
Fat Boy Phllies also has launched a food truck to expand its reach.
Service at Fat Boy Phillies is friendly, and questions about meat and cheese choices are met with knowledgeable suggestions. Food preparation and delivery are handled efficiently, and to-go containers are happily provided.
Overall, Fat Boy Phillies is well worth a stop if you’re in the neighborhood and hungry for a mountain of quality food at an affordable price.
Heather L. King also owns www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches
Fat Boy Phillies • ★★★(out of ★★★★)
Philly cheesesteak sandwiches served with beef or chicken and choice of provolone or Cheez Whiz. Topped with grilled onions, pepper and mushrooms and a kicky jalapeño mayo.
Food • ★★★
Mood • ★★
Service • ★★★
Hours • Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Entrée price • $
Online • www.facebook.com/Fat-Boy-Phillies-390265938157833/
Location • 5823 S. State St., Murray, UT 84107; 801-261-0313
Children’s menu • Yes
Liquor • No
Reservations • No
Takeout • Yes