I remember the first time I drove by a Fatz restaurant.  I’d never heard of Fatz, given the chain is central to the south, with locations in Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas.  Admittedly, the thought of dining at a place with “fat” in the name didn’t sound too appetizing, and I’d written it off without so much as glancing at the menu.  Who am I?!

Then I got an email from Fatz asking if I’d like to come in and try the new Fatz Lite Side menu.  I was more than intrigued.  A light menu?  At Fatz?  How could this be?!  I hit the web for details  and was completely caught off guard by the huge selection of food Fatz offered.  The new light options menu was like the fat-free icing on the chocolate cake.

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This weekend we finally got to check out Fatz firsthand.

Just inside the front door, a few people sat chatting on the comfy broken in leather sofas.  It felt like we’d just walked into someone’s living room, and that’s the Fatz goal–to be a place that feels like home.  Our wonderful waitress was helpful, smiley, and made us feel like regulars.  Plus, the service was ridiculously fast.

Our goal for the evening was to sample the new Lite Side menu, but we couldn’t pass on trying some Fatz famous Calabash Chicken.  The chicken is named for Calabash, NC, a coastal town known for its fried seafood.  Every batch of the Calabash Chicken is marinated for an impressive 24 hours, and the strips are hand-breaded and fried to order.  They arrive at your table piping hot with a tangy honey mustard dressing.

Fatz (1 of 9)

The Calabash chicken strips were moist and juicy, and I couldn’t get enough of the dressing.  We polished these guys off in lightning speed, just in time for the *FREE BREAD*  in the form of poppy seed rolls with a sweet whipped butter.  Any restaurant that puts bread on the table gets an extra star in my book!

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For our appetizer, I ordered the Cajun Firecracker Sticks.  Jarrod hates shrimp, but we figured the combination of Andouille sausage, onions, peppers, spinach, and jalapeno jack cheese would overpower any shrimpyness.

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The rolls were served with FATZ Onyum Sauce, which was onyumazing.  I really liked the filling of these rolls – it’d be great baked in the oven and served with tortilla chips.  Hmmm wonder if they need a foodie to help with future menu expansion?  A gal can dream, can’t she?

We sipped on generous pours of red wine in the split seconds between our appetizer and entrees.  Jarrod went with the Lite Aloha Chicken.  The chicken was coated in a slightly sweet marinade, and the fire grill gave it a lovely sear and char.  It was topped with a slice of pineapple and served with rice pilaf and broccoli, which Jarrod swapped for a vegetable skewer.  This entree came in at 467 calories.

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I went with the Lite Shrimp and Grilled Veggie Harpoons, another feature of the Lite Side menu at a mere 389 calories.  I loved the garlic and pepper seasonings on the shrimp, and  I could have eating about a pound of the roasted onions on the vegetable skewers.  Fatz (6 of 9)

This was A LOT of food for the calorie buck.  Typically, eating healthy when dining out involves a lot of sacrifices, not to mention that it’s just a huge pain in the butt.  Kudos to Fatz for extending an already expansive menu to include lighter options that pack big flavor.

Just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more, we were brought the Carolina Peach Cobbler.

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Fresh peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts topped with vanilla bean ice cream?  Be still my beating heart.  Be still.

Not only did the friendly folks at Fatz wine and dine us, but they also provided me with a $75 Fatz gift card to give away to one blog reader!  $75 will buy a whole lot of down home cookin’ at Fatz!  You could check out their awesome lunch combo specials, grab a a salad or a steak.  A couple glasses of wine, perhaps?  Heck, you might even be able to get TWO desserts (I had my eye on the brownie bowl, of course).

Two ways to enter:

1.)  Leave a comment on the blog letting me know which item you’d most like to try on the Fatz menu.

2.)  Tweet about this giveaway (make sure to include my twitter handle @Fervent_Foodie and this link: http://www.ferventfoodie.com/2012/02/27/big-fatz-giveaway/ ).  Then leave a comment on this post letting me know you tweeted!

The giveaway ends at midnight on Friday, March 2nd.  I will randomly select a winner and post the results on Saturday March, 3rd.  The winner must email me with their mailing address by midnight on Monday, March 5th.  If I do not receive a response from the first winner, I will pick a replacement winner (and so on and so forth).



FATZ on UrbanspoonFATZ on Urbanspoon


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