Fatburger is spreading closer to Tacoma. The Southern California chain with outlets in Bellevue, Lynnwood, Redmond and Issaquah opened in the South Sound on Friday (at the Federal Way Crossing shopping center, Enchanted Parkway at 348th Street, 253-835-0582).
But that's not today's exciting news. Today's exciting news is that you can soon order beer with your Fatburgers. For now, the neon beer signs in the windows of the new Fatburger are dark but as soon as the permits clear and the Anheuser-Busch bottles show up, Bud, Bud Light and Redhook will be on the menu.
MONDAY UPDATE Word from Fatburger corporate HQ is that Washington Fatburgers currently are the only franchises that will serve beer. Some stores in Arizona have previously poured. Beer sales will be evaluated market by market due to varying liquor regulations.
Beer is part of Fatburger's shift from "quick service to fast casual," restaurant-marketingese for kicking fast food up a notch with things like table service and higher-quality ingredients.
Fatburger appears to be following the Coke-or-Pepsi-but-not-both fast-food norm. "Will Fatburger serve more than Anheuser-Busch products?" I asked.
"Not at this time," was the answer.
TUESDAY UPDATE Bob Benardout, who with his wife, Susan, holds the rights to Fatburger franchises in western Washington, from Blaine to Olympia, told me this morning that he's hoping to be serving bottles of beer at his five Fatburger locations in about two weeks, as soon as liquor permits are finalized. Benardout said he's been scouting possible locations in Puyallup, Seattle and Southcenter.