Fat Sandwich Company to premiere on campus with fried foods in sandwiches

By Melissa Silverberg

While other college students were mopping floors and serving coffee at large chain restaurants around the country, Adam Pearlman and Cole Lewko were drawing up plans to start their own restaurant legacy. Pearlman and Lewko, both 24, opened their first Fat Sandwich Company restaurant at University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

While other college students were mopping floors and serving coffee at large chain restaurants around the country, Adam Pearlman and Cole Lewko were drawing up plans to start their own restaurant legacy.

Pearlman and Lewko, both 24, opened their first Fat Sandwich Company restaurant at University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., and by early October, their second shop will open at 502 E. John Street in Champaign, the former location of Harold’s Chicken.

Fat sandwiches are a combination of french fries, mozzarella sticks, pizza bites, cheese steak, hamburgers, fried mushrooms, onion rings and much more all stuffed onto an 8-inch amoroso roll.

“The whole idea of putting these crazy ingredients in one sandwich really intrigued us,” Pearlman said.

Some of the sandwiches even have entertaining names, such as Fat Milf, Fat WalkOfShame, Fat Sanchez and Fat Mess, according to the restaurant’s Web site.

“We try our best to provide a really fun atmosphere for our customers to come in, have a good time and eat a funny and delicious sandwich,” Lewko said.

Aside from the collection of fat sandwiches, the restaurant will also serve an assortment of burgers, wraps, wings, cheese steaks, breakfast and even salads. The Champaign restaurant will have an Illini twist, Pearlman said. They will carry sandwiches called the Fat Illini and the Fat Chief, along with providing a school spirited décor for their shop, he added. The duo met as fraternity brothers at Penn State University before turning their own food favorites into their restaurant’s menu.

“We graduated and just decided we didn’t want to go get a normal job like everyone else,” Lewko said. “So we found a creative way to start a business.”

After a road trip to college campuses across the country, Pearlman and Lewko said they chose Illinois primarily because of its large student population and active social scene.

“The 43,000 students really appealed to us since that is pretty much our main market,” Pearlman said. “We are really excited to be in Illinois, we like this town a lot. It has great school spirit.”

As they did with their first restaurant, Pearlman and Lewko are doing as much of their own construction as they can and work 100 hours per week to get the shop ready for business. They are aiming for an Oct. 1 grand opening, Lewko said. During the grand opening, Pearlman said they will be giving out a free fat sandwich to the first 100 customers in order for students to taste their food and spread the word on campus. Fat Sandwich Company will also take advantage of the popular dining site EatCU.com.

Lewko and Pearlman said they are very interested in the business the University’s nightlife can attract. Fat Sandwich Company will be open from 11 a.m to 3 a.m. seven days a week with either a takeout or delivery option.

“I think being open that late on a campus where students go out so much will really help them,” said Gregory Jasinski, sophomore in LAS. Jasinski said he will definitely be trying foods from Fat Sandwich Company and is looking forward to their opening later this semester.

“No more Niro’s (Gyros) for me,” he added.

While some students may be concerned with the calorie and fat counts of the meals served at Fat Sandwich Company, experts have said it is okay to splurge once in a while.

“It’s okay as an occasional thing,” said Justine Karduck, nutrition educator at the SportWell center of the McKinley Health Center. “But if you are eating it two or three times a week, that’s not a healthy choice. They do have salads; there are ways to make even a fat sandwich a healthier option.”

Fat Sandwich does not provide nutritional information because it has never been requested of them to publish, Pearlman said.

Prices for sandwiches, burgers and cheese steaks will range between $5 and $7, Pearlman said. A delivery charge has not yet been decided on, but Pearlman said with current gas prices they will have to charge a small amount to help out their drivers.

“We have a completely unique menu, students will have to just come in and try it.” Pearlman said. “The sandwiches really speak for themselves.”

Think you can beat the Big Fat Ugly Challenge?

Cost: $25

Weight: 7 pounds

Contents: 2 rolls, 4 Cheeseburgers, Double Cheesesteak, Chicken Cheesesteak, Gyro Meat, Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Sausage, Pork Roll, Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Nuggets, Mac and Cheese Bites, Fried Mushrooms, Jalapeno Poppers, Pizza Bites, Onion Rings, Hash Browns, American Cheese, Ketchup, Mayo

Goal: Finish it in 15 minutes and get your money back!