Munch goes to Fat Heads

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Sick of sliding by in life, ol' languorous Munch needed a challenge -- a culinary Everest climb, if you will, that paces said adventurer within a half-nibble of the obituary pages. With three out-of-towners similarly yearning for an evening of marathon consumption, Munch drove to the South Side, looking for an establishment where phrases like "I'm gonna finish this" sound like famous last words.

We found Fat Heads. Perfect, really. By Munch's opinion, the name explicitly indicates everything there is to know about the menu, but just in case, Fat Heads kindly offers this logo outside its storefront: that of a portly bald man, cheeks the size of continents, who looks as if he's about one jar of Skippy peanut putter from death by overeating. Not bad, we all agreed.

Gluttony, of course, makes the list of Seven Deadly Sins, but when we arrived at Fat Heads, we conveniently agreed to slash the list to six. Munch came to devour, and Fat Heads gladly obliged. Its novella-like menu offered lengthy descriptions of all burgers, sandwiches and nominally famous calorie-crazy "headwiches." All told, the list of entrees read like a bible for the anti-South Beach, anti-low-carb, anti-health-craze crowd -- that is, presuming such a crowd still has the physical wherewithal to, well, congregate.

Our arrival at Fat Heads late on a Friday night coincided with an unfortunate message from the hostess, who quoted the wait for a table at 90 minutes. The good news, then? Munch had plenty of time to sample several of the 39 beers on tap. And more important, Munch felt like a lottery winner when a table opened after barely more than an hour.

The waitress showed us a table, and the challenge began. First came 20 buffalo wings ($11.95), which were notable both for their zesty spiciness (though the menu called them "mild") and an unfortunate 19:1 ratio of drumettes (anatomically, the humerus) to double-boned wings (anatomically, the radius-ulna). Munch, a double-boned fanatic, found the humerus overabundance anything but humorous.

But hard feelings dissipated fast. The main course was more like three main courses -- a testament, for the Out of Town Friends of Munch, to Pittsburgh's penchant for stomach-expanding cuisine. Munch ordered the aptly named "Artery Clogger" ($7.25), a headwich best described as a Denny's breakfast Grand Slam wedged into a basketball-sized bun. Bread, eggs, bacon, ham and cheese dominated Munch's taste buds -- and later, Munch's stomach. Though the menu swore the Artery Clogger also came with lettuce, tomato and onion, it was hard to tell. Mmmm.

One OOTFOM tackled, or perhaps was tackled by, the "Southside Slopes" ($7.95) -- a sandwich with pierogies, kielbasa, grilled onions and, presumably, a cut-out coupon for liposuction. Another OOTFOM also ordered something tasty, but Munch isn't certain of the details, only that the sandwich contained some massive conglomeration of meat, bread, meat, cheese and, um, meat.

Nobody at our table could finish. As the waitress, Jessica, cleared the table (showing no surprise to see food remaining on the plates), Munch asked her what percentage of customers generally finish their meals. Alas, Jessica was unable to cite any statistics, but the consensus seemed to be, well, not many at all.

By late evening, Fat Heads transforms into a joint that is two parts bar, one part restaurant. Munch and the out-of-towners considered a return to the bar area, where, earlier, we'd downed a beer snob's waterfall of Hoegaarden and Sierra Nevada. But this time, our stomachs wouldn't allow it; our fullness prevented further consumption of any sort. Munch's body felt as if it was running on petroleum, or at least some vaguely similar composite heavy on oil and grease. Munch could only smile. You've heard of a runner's high? This was a glutton's high.

Fat Heads is at 1805 E. Carson St., South Side. For more information, call 412-431-7433.



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