Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

“What a terrible thing consciousness is.”

– Harold Bloom on King Lear Act IV (gleaned from The Village Voice)

Tonight, I was craving ribs. Lauren was going for tacos. “We’re going for tacos,” she said.

“Well,” I replied, “I’m in the mood for ribs.”

“Very well,” she said and exited.

Cue cell phone. Cue finger. Cue Mark.

“Mark,” I said, “I’m going for ribs. Interested?”

“Yes!” he said and told me to pick him up.

“Very well,” I said and exited.

[Adam picks up Mark. Mark and Adam drive to Fat Matt’s.]

We arrive at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. I force Mark to discontinue a story about vomit at his birthday party. We exit the car and behold a giant green wall.

“Shall we?” I ask.

Mark refuses to say “let’s” because I cut off his vomit story.

Inside, a blues band is playing. I take a picture and it doesn’t come out. We approach the counter. I order first.

“A half slab of ribs, please, and a lemonade.”

I pay. $9.40. These ribs don’t come cheap.

Mark’s turn. “Two pork sandwiches and–”

Readers grow disinterested, concerned only with what I ate. Very well.

We sit inside because the tables outside are all taken. Here’s Mark beneath the giant menu:


Quite quickly, the food arrives. Here are my ribs:


I begin to take a picture of Mark’s food, but readers urge me not to.

Before I can begin my first bite, a table opens outside.

“Look a table!” declares Mark.

“Ah!” declares I.

We scurry outside and bask in the warm evening glow.

“Good work,” I say. “Now let’s eat.”

[Time passes. Ribs consumed.]


Look, facts are facts. I have had good ribs at Fat Matt’s before. In fact, last time I was there I recall saying to my dining companion: “These are delicious. These are the best ribs I’ve ever had.”

Tonight’s ribs were not so delicious. They were tough, bony, slightly burnt and very difficult to eat. The sauce was good–tangy, flavorful–but they couldn’t save a bad cut of meat.

What I really found myself craving–and hence the pain of consciousness–was the rib platter at Houston’s. To BBQ purists, this is the equivalent of sacrilege.


Quiet Bloom.

In any case, the Houston’s ribs may not be authentic, but they are: (a) easier to eat; (b) a better value; (c) always consistent.

What I really need to do, though, is take a BBQ tour of the South before I move away forever. Perhaps I will do that soon for this site. Until that day, though, my consciousness will suffer the tug of war between authentic-yet-hard-to-eat Fat Matt’s and commercial-yet-delicious Houston’s.

We now return to our regularly scheduled narrative.


“That was pretty good,” I say.

“Yeah,” says Mark. “Though the sauce was a little spicy tonight.”

I look down at my plate. I move all the napkins I used from the table on to the plate. As you can see, my “On Napkins” post was no lie:


“Shall we?” I say.

“Let’s,” says Mark and we exit.

5 thoughts on “Fat Matt’s Rib Shack”

  1. Ugh. That place is a rathole. My parents saw it on some Food Network TV show and insisted we go there when they came to visit. Apparently it looked like less of a dive on TV because they were disgusted when we got there. I couldn’t find ANYTHING vegetarian to eat and had (get this) peanuts and 2 slices of storebought white bread for dinner. Gross. Gag.

  2. You look for vegetarian stuff at a BBQ joint? No wonder you’re disappointed.

    I’ve had mostly good luck at Fat Matt’s (with a couple real clunker visits.) It’s good. But Daddy D’z is better.

  3. FAT MACK’S RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BBQ -BLUES -BEER!!!!!! THE RIBS ARE THE BOMB!!!! best bbq in the south….period!!!!!!

  4. I have never been to Matt’s, but if you are ever in the northwest and want authentic BBQ — you must visit the Eagle Rib Shack in Eagle, Idaho (right outside of Boise). INCREDIBLE!!!

  5. Fat Mack rules. It is what we call a hole in the wall but to often “pretty” restaurant are just gross. Fat Mack don’t change the appearance I love it. I felt comfortable enough to lick the sauce off my fingers. In other words the food was finger licking good.

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