Fat Patty's to open second location in Barboursville
HUNTINGTON -- When Clint Artrip opened Fat Patty's restaurant three years ago near Joan C. Edwards Stadium, he had more than 20 years of experience under his belt.
It might have been his first ownership of a restaurant, but he had worked in a number of restaurants and bars, and owned a couple bars, over the years. In that time, he learned about good food, about what people like, and about what makes them leave smiling.
Those lessons are put to work daily at Fat Patty's, a restaurant that has thrived so much in its location on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 20th Street that Artrip plans to open a second location in Barboursville this winter. He's hoping to have it open by the start of 2011 in the spot at 3401 U.S. 60 East, formerly occupied by Johnny's Pizza.
Artrip bought the whole building, which also had a travel agency at one point, bringing the total square footage of the second Fat Patty's location to 7,000 square feet. It should seat about 180 people, Artrip said, about 60 more than can be seated in the Huntington restaurant.
He's looking for it to be a successful market.
"Barboursville is a growing area, with the mall traffic and a lot going on," the 50-year-old said. "Here, we have Marshall, and up there, we'll have the mall traffic and the local residents. It's just far enough apart to give us two markets."
The menu there will be the same as the Huntington location, including its 17 varieties of popular burgers, which recently landed Fat Patty's in USA Today's list of "51 Great Burger Joints." The story named a well-patronized burger joint from each state in the country and the District of Columbia.
"We're proud of our food," Artrip said. "We're at the point now where a lot of people will travel from other areas to try it out. We've almost become a destination spot.
"...We've had great sales and a lot of referral business and regulars."
Some of his favorite offerings are the Pretzel Patty, and in terms of newer fare, he likes the pretzel bratwurst, which he thinks is a great food for football season.
It's really evolved from what started as a bar that sells food to what is now a restaurant that sells drinks, he said.
The Barboursville Fat Patty's also will add pizza to the menu, to take advantage of the kitchen equipment already in place there.
"The place is known for pizza anyway. But we won't have normal pizzas," he said. They're more likely to come in creative varieties like the burgers, two of which are the Vampire Killer, named for its garlic, and the Luau Cow, with ham and pineapple.
As far as the interior, he plans to remodel, adding maybe 15 or 20 TVs, more low walls and booths for privacy. He will keep the private party room.
The staff will need beefing up, he said. He plans to transfer a group of maybe 10 core people from the Huntington location to Barboursville, and may hire as many as 50 others, full and part-time, he said. The Huntington Fat Patty's has about 60 employees total, including a lot of part-time college students.
The Huntington location is staying right where it is, he stressed.
It's been a fun ride so far, Artrip said of owning his own restaurant.
"What I like about it is that you're responsible for your own success or failure," he said. "The more you put into it, the more you get out."
And he puts in a lot.
The man hasn't taken a day off in 15 years, he said. Not weekends, not even holidays, which he says are a good opportunity to come in and get some behind-the-scenes things done, like painting. He averages probably about 80 hours a week, giving himself two eight-hour days, or "short days," per week.
He's one of those bosses who has high standards for himself and for everybody, said James Anderson, a server who has worked at Fat Patty's just about from its beginning in August 2007.
"He's tough on us. He wants everything done right," Anderson said of Artrip. "But I don't think I could work for any other boss, even though he's strict. Different bosses do things differently, and I'm used to what he wants. He knows everything that's going on, and if something is wrong, he wants it fixed right away."
Anderson is one of a number of long-term employees there. With all the foot traffic at the restaurant, it can make a great living -- especially on game days, Anderson said. The most money he's earned in tips in a single day was $425, when he worked from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the day of Marshall's homecoming a couple years ago.
"That drives us to come back," he said. "We work our butts off for it, but we enjoy it."
For more information about Fat Patty's, call 304-781-2555 or visit fatpattysonline.com.
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