Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fat Frank's

"The Wurst Place in Bellows Falls."

If mustard ever replaces money after the apocalypse, then Fat Frank’s will be Fort Knox. While I was home this past week, I finally got to try this incredible Vermont staple with my family in tow. We tried to come here around Christmas, but it was sadly closed and I returned home thwarted. Not this time. And man, was it worth it.

Fat Frank’s is a small two-story establishment on the main drag of Bellows Falls, Vt., a town just across the river from Walpole, N.H., home to Ken Burns, L.A. Burdick Chocolatiers, and Charles P. Shaw, DVM -- my father and subject of the Amazon.com #1,492,134 bestselling book "A Country Practice." I spent many a Saturday buying candy, toys and baseball cards at Fletcher’s and other stores down the street growing up. Located on the site of the former Real Scoop ice cream parlor, Fat Frank's is across from Nick’s Bar and Grill, which has the most welcoming/threatening logo I’ve ever seen -- a meaty arm raising a mug of beer that says either “Cheers,” or “I’m about to punch you in the face with a frosty mug of brew.” But enough background.

Walking in, you’re immediately overwhelmed by the array of options in front of you. In addition to the order counter, this place has a fantastic display case where you can buy hot dogs and brats by the pound, as well as a self-service steamer station with standard hot dogs. I had decided beforehand to try one of the signature Fat Franks, but was also compelled to try a standard dog for comparison. I should add that the sign outside boasted “The Best French Fries Ever,” so per Lunch Blog rules, I was eager to see if they held up to such a lofty claim. While waiting for everything to arrive, we looked at the extensive mustard selection available from an outfit named Raye’s.

When the food came, it lived up to its name. I had The Rockingham Dog and it was gigantic, piled high with sauerkraut, cheddar cheese, onions and a strip of bacon all on a homemade bun. Both hot dogs I had were delicious, so would the fries be the best ever? Sorry to say, I’ve had ones I like better even just the week before at recordBar, although these were darn good regardless. Homemade and hand cut, cooked to just the right amount of crispness with a true potato flavor. This was the first time I've ate fries not with ketchup, but exclusively with mustard. I tried all five flavors of Raye's, and found each to be excellent.

I'll be back, Fat Frank's. Next time I'm home.
________________________________Fat Franks on Urbanspoon
92 Rockingham Street | Bellows Falls, VT 05101

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