In life we make many choices. Each new day welcomes the opportunity to forge our existence through decisions, both good and bad, to lead us to this moment: the here and now.
Last week, at the starting gate of Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, I made a good decision by walking into Fat Ronnie’s.
As soon as I walked inside, the aroma of beef, buns, and fries wafted through the air, acting as my harbinger of spring on-Island. I was almost moved to tears of sweet joy at the sight of patties frying atop the grill.
I made haste toward the counter to order myself one these disk-shaped masterpieces, but had to first assess the opportunity cost of my menu options. Do I go chicken or burger? Of course burger, but what kind?
The signature of Fat Ronnie’s is the Fat Ronnie ($9.95), an all-natural burger with American cheese. For only a dollar more, the burger-savvy customer can upgrade to the bacon cheddar, portabella mushroom Swiss, or caramelized onion provolone.
I decided on the caramelized onion provolone with a side of fries ($4.65) for good measure. When my name was called, I bolted from my seat to decide my toppings. A rich assortment of vegetables and sauces lay before me, but I chose the timely classics — lettuce and tomato.
With my burger personalized, my cup of fries fresh from the fryer, and napkins in hand, I unwrapped my meal from its aluminum veil, beginning a flavor journey I may not have been entirely ready for.
The burger ate like a dream, with its soft bread, tenderly cooked patty, sweet onions, and crisp lettuce. I felt myself leaving the reality and physical constraints of this world as the power of taste took me to a place both near and far yet old and new. In this strange and wonderful new land, everyone ate burgers with glee, rainbows streaked across the sky, and Emma Watson asked me to marry her (I said yes).
Slowly but surely, I returned back to this world, thunderstruck that one bite of a burger could be so moving. Before heading back for a second bite and another astral projection, I chose to see what kind of ride the fries would take me on.
The fries come in original, sweet potato ($4.45), or covered with cheese ($5.65), and are a master class in fryology, as their crunch is perfectly balanced with their soft center. I barely used ketchup so as to not compromise their consummate flavor.
Burgers and fries are not the only offerings at this establishment. For those with a taste for the sea, the golden fried Fish & Chips ($15.95), and the Lobster Roll ($21.95), available in season, which showcases half a pound of a New England classic with a dash of mayonnaise on a toasted and buttered potato roll, are great options.
The Big Dog ($5.65), a quarter-pound all-beef hotdog, and the sandwich selections give the menu a diversity aimed to please any customer. They even have a vegan Veggie Burger ($9.95) and Turkey Burger ($9.95).
Those headed to Fat Ronnie’s expecting a festively plump man may be disappointed. “I’m a fourth-generation burger maker,” Reynaldo “Ronnie” Faust, the owner of Fat Ronnie’s, said. “I’m just following the family tradition. Although I’m a little late because I owned a health club for 20 years.” Faust claimed he had gone “from fitness to fat.”
Faust’s great-grandmother owned a burger joint in Harlem many years ago, and the fervor for burgers has become a theme in the family. Old photographs lining the walls display the different generations of burger makers.
Whether looking for a well-priced burger, hot dog, sandwich, or lobster roll, Faust and Fat Ronnie’s have got you covered.
Fat Ronnie’s, 7 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs, is open 11 am to 9 pm seven days a week, and will be open 11 am to 1 am during the summer. For more information, visit Fat Ronnie’s on Facebook.