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Fat Albert's

From Greeley Style Magazine, October/November 1992

We're here to
serve you:

10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

by Marshall Clough

Fat Albert's is a busy restaurant. At peak lunch and dinner hours hopeful diners crowd the vestibule, listening for the hostess to call their names. The owners have cleverly placed a display case full of freshly-baked pies against the vestibule wall, tempting waiting customers to choose their desserts even before they sit down to eat. While the wait can be as long as 20 minutes, it usually passes quickly (unless the restaurant is very crowded), for there are chairs along the corridor and the restaurant's friendly atmosphere creates a sense of comfortable anticipation.

With only 65 seats inside and 45 on the patio (usable only in good weather), Fat Albert's is only a moderate-sized restaurant, a fact belied by its rather imposing exterior. There is one long room of tables and three booths, a partially-partioned back section, and the patio outside the reception area. The ambiance is warm and cozy, an effect enhanced by the polished wood, mirrors, and a number of real - not artificial - green plants. The small bar is particularly attractive, though it is placed right next to the front door and may not be a good place to eat in busy times with people regularly passing to and fro just behind your back.

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Visit our Neighbor in Cottonwood Square: Visit Your Place Coffee!

The main room is comfortable but a bit dark and sometimes pretty noisy, so a better choice when it's nice outside is the patio, and in bad weather and the off-season the partitioned area at the back of the cafe. Fat Albert's was a pioneer of al fresco dining in Greeley, and still offers the best patio in town, a handsome space of umbrella-topped tables screened from the rest of Cottonwood Square by a gracefully-curving brick wall. The umbrellas provide fine shade, and the tables are large and solid, but unfortunately the utilitarian chairs can be hard and uncomfortable if you wish to enjoy a long, liesurely lunch. The back section inside, partitioned off by a railing and a very attractive large macrame hanging, is a good altrnative for couples and larger groups. It can be reserved for special occasions, such as the birthday celebration for 20 guests I attended several years ago.

Though Fat Albert's shares Cottonwood Square with Potato Brumbaugh's, the two restaurants are not really in direct competition since Fat Albert's offers more casual dining, especially for families. The menu is extensive, with 75 items, but the anchor is sandwiches. The most popular is the Monte Cristo, a sandwich dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. Hamburgers are also very popular, especially the large "Belly Buster," which two or more people can easily share for lunch. I like the burgers (though I've only eaten the smaller size) and I'm partial to the good club sandwich. The sandwiches are big, and the rest of the platter is filled with tasty french fries. Though most lunch patrons choose a sandwich, alternatives include homemade soup and main-dish salads. Salads are a good bet at Fat Albert's - whether as a starter or as an entree - particularly when topped by the poppy seed dressing.

If you come to the restaurant for an evening meal, you might want to start with an appetizer. During a recent dinner, my companion and I sampled the fried clam strips, served with tartar sauce and ketchup and accompanied by french fries. It was a tasty beginning to the meal, probably too much for one person but just right for a couple. We went on to order a chicken fajita plate for me and a beef stroganoff sandwich for her. My fajita was fine: a large wheat tortilla filled with pieces of chicken, onion and green pepper and accompanied by sour cream and guacomole. The other dish, however, was a disappointment; pieces of dry roast beef simply topped by sour cream do not make a stroganoff dish.

At Fat Albert's it's a good idea to save room for dessert, particularly for a slice of one of the homemade pies. The choice is a bit overwhelming, from apple to banana cream. The pecan pie is one of my overindulging favorites, especially when ordered ala mode. To cap off arecent lunch at the restaurant I enjoyed a slice of the fresh peach pie, served warm and fragrant. Even if you haven't eaten dinner at Fat Albert's, it's a pleasure to drop by after a movie for a slice of pie and coffee; after the dinner rush it's less crowded and a lot quieter.

Service at Fat Albert's has always been friendly and efficient. The restaurant offers beer, wine and cocktails as well as soft drinks. Fat Albert's is located in Cottonwood Square next to Union Colony Bank...The restaurant accepts reservations oly for parties of six or more and only during the week. The price of a meal is moderate; about $12 for two for lunch and $20 to $25 for dinner.

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Everything on the menu is available for carry out.
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1717 23rd Avenue • Greeley • Colorado • 80634
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