Fat Patties Daily Special Board

With Parrot head apologies to Jimmy Buffett, when it comes to summertime in this paradise we call the Lowcountry, it’s hard to beat burgers, brats, and beer right here. There’s just something about the smell and taste of a perfectly cooked patty, washed down with a cold beer (especially if it’s on draft, per Jimmy).

When we researched where Buffett wrote “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and about which paradise he was writing the lyrics, there seemed to be as many stories about the origins of Buffett’s hit song as there are possible burger toppings (the possibilities range from Florida’s Gulf coast to the Keys to the Caribbean and beyond). We also find it interesting how often “paradise” shows up in other tasty songs, including, among many more: “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” from a man named Meatloaf, natch; Sade’s (and Coldplay’s) “Paradise,” “Paradise City” from Guns N’ Roses; Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise;” and tons more tunes.

As an aside, before we write our own love letter to a burger paradise right here in the Lowcountry, after looking up the lyrics in cyberspace, we learned that Buffett’s paradisical burger evidently features a medium-rare patty, warm bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Muenster cheese. Well, we think it’s Muenster, since many say they hear “mustard” when they listen to the song, and the web has it both ways. Buffet’s burger is topped with Heinz 57 Sauce. Of course, we had to look up Heinz 57, and Heinz’s hunger-inducing website says it’s a secret blend of premium herbs and spices that includes more than a dozen ingredients, including some we can’t pronounce.

So, back in our bit of natural paradise and, though it’s hard to beat a burger grilled in our backyard (or that of a friend who knows his or her way around a grill), the Lowcountry’s heat and humidity often lead us to letting someone else slave over the stove or grill. Sure, they feature generally consistent and sometimes tasty burgers at national chains with arches, crowns, and red-headed girls in pigtails, where special orders don’t upset them, where we can get it our way, and where we don’t have to ask, “Where’s the beef?” when they serve us square burgers. And, while national chains might offer two burgers for five cents (okay, maybe five bucks or so), we remain fans and supporters of “independent” Lowcountry restaurants where the burgers may cost a bit more — but for good reason.

Given our preference to eat locally, there are many great burger options at independent Beaufort restaurants, and we might devote a “Dish” to many of them one day.

Virginia V pattie with rosemary sea salt fries and pickles. Photo by Seldon Ink 

However, our “paradise” for burgers (and brats, beers, and much more) is the independent burger palace called Fat Patties on Parris Island Gateway.

Owned and operated by Borreggine family since 2012 (they celebrate their 11thanniversary in August), Fat Patties is a paradise for burger lovers and beyond. Loyal “Dish” readers may recall that Nick Borreggine and his family also own Port Royal’s popular Shellring Ale Works. Beer lovers will love learning that Shellring’s beers are on tap at Fat Patties (see below, but let’s start with their unique “burgers” menu). The Borreggines also had a Fat Patties in Old Town Bluffton, but it’s now Nectar Farm Kitchen’s second location as part of SERG Restaurant Groups popular dozen-plus concepts.

First, you choose your “pattie” (we say patty, they say pattie), with the current options including: grass-fed beef (which is a tasty cross-breed of Brown Swiss and Angus cows, sourced from partners Southern Swiss Dairy); ground turkey; American shrimp; black bean; chicken breast; beef with bacon; or smashed (two four-ounce patties, smashed and seared to perfection). Each patty choice has its own price and then the toppings ordering fun begins.

Those who prefer their choices made for them will want to opt for one of their five named creations with add-on pricing, including: Baby Blue (blue cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic mayo); How You Doin (with crisp house-made mozzarella, grilled pepperoni, and pesto and red sauces); Virginia V (named for Virginia Verhaeghe, who lived where Fat Patties now stands, and served with pimento cheese, thick cut bacon, cole slaw, fried green tomato, and garlic mayo); Who’s Your Pattie (smoked cheddar, pulled pork BBQ, applewood smoked bacon, pickles, and slaw); and Steak Out (roasted ribeye, peppers, onions, mushrooms, provolone cheese, and garlic mayo). For the record, the garlic mayo at Fat Patties works on a burger so much better than Heinz 57, in our opinion (sorry, Jimmy).

Plantation brat with rosemary sea salt fries. Photo by Seldon Ink

Those who want to “Build Your Own” won’t lack for choices (all with low or even no add-on pricing). We count no less than three dozen possibilities when it comes to building your own patty, with more than 10 cheeses, 18 or so toppings, and another 15-plus sauces. Some of the many options that we love include an additional patty (yeap), a farm fresh egg, fried shrimp, pulled pork, and a fried green tomato (bless their hearts). And, yes, you can build your own cheeseburger in paradise, which is a fave of our neighbor Henry, who adds bacon and more to his perfect Fat Patties cheeseburger of choice.

Of their burgers, general manager Deanna Gray, who obviously loves Fat Patties, her team, and first-time and veteran visitors, says, “We feel their [Southern Swiss Dairy’s] beef is more rich and has a depth that you cannot find in the mass produced beef. Our buns are baked in-house every morning for that soft pillowy melt in your mouth taste.” Deanna also recently told us that the Virginia V option remains one of the most popular burgers and that they even used some of the woodwork from Virginia and Art Verhaeghe’s house when they built Fat Patties.

The choices don’t stop after choosing your patty and toppings. All patties orders come with pickles (from US Foods, we hear) that we love, plus delectable rosemary sea salt fries. For a small upcharge, other options include sweet potato fries, housemade lemon pepper chips, cole slaw, sautéed veggies, and a couscous/basmati rice mixture. Oh, and there’s also a choice of traditional white or whole wheat bun, which are perfectly sized for that ideal bun-to-burger ratio (at least in our opinion).

Every time we go to Fat Patties, we promise ourselves that we’re going to order something other than one of the delectable patties, but we

Beer cheese dip with house made chips, tortilla chips & garlic toast points. Photo by Fat Patties

frequently fail (for lunch, we typically just split one). That said, there are lots of other great possibilities at Fat Patties (we’ve tried several and we’re slowly making our way through the entire menu).

Of course, they feature a great brat (sourced from another partner, Hunter Cattle Co.), which has stood the test of time and several other bygone brat combos once on the menu. It’s called a Plantation Brat and it comes on a huge hot dog-style roll with pimento beer cheese dip, cole slaw, and brown mustard. Fat Patties fans know that any of the build your own options available for the patties are also offered to top the brat.

The “Other Stuff” part of this side of the menu includes the aforementioned Plantation Brat, but other appetizing possibilities, including: Cheese Steak; Shrimp Po-Boy; and the Shrimp Basket

Several Fat Patties veterans also report that their bowls are the bomb, including their “set” creations and build your own. Popular self-explanatory bowls include: Shrimp Bowl; The Mac Bowl; Burrito Bowl (with pulled chicken); Jerk Chicken Bowl; Alfredo Bowl; and a tuna, chicken, or shrimp stir-fry bowl. Again, any of the patties build your own add-ons can be added to a bowl, which can lead to a lot of fun (and unique flavor combos).

The other side of the menu (yes, we start with the patties side every time and go from there) features “Snacks,” “Salads,” “Tacos,” and the aforementioned sides. The long varied list of snacks includes one of the Lowcountry’s best soft pretzels, popular pimento beer cheese dip, fried mozzarella, crab dip, shrimp cocktail, deviled shrimp, blue cheese fries, fried green tomato, peppered yellowfin tuna, and more (as if that weren’t enough snackable temptation). Nick reports that the hand-breaded and house-pulled fried mozzarella is a Borreggine family fave, and that the former Fat Patties homemade blue cheese tots were a personal favorite that he plans to return to the menu soon.

Philly pretzel with mornay sauce or honey mustard. Photo by Seldon Ink

There are four salads with varied dressings offered, including House, Arugula, Caesar, and Spring Mix. For just five bucks (a bargain, we think), you can add shrimp, chicken, seared, tuna, or even one of their patties, which we appreciate.

Though we haven’t tried them (yet), the tacos look great when we’ve seen them brought to tables by some of Beaufort’s friendliest servers.

And, did we mention the draft beer list? All of the 10-plus drafts are from Nick’s Shellring Ale Works and the varied options pair perfectly with the food at Fat Patties (okay, especially with the burgers). The beers are helpfully divided by styles, including Hops, Dark, Sours, Malt, and Light. Depending on what we’re ordering and what’s on tap, some of our long-time and more recent faves include: Nautical Light, Cultivated Creation, Chela de Playa, Aria’s Amber Ale, and Beautiful Beginnings (can you tell we’re not hopheads). When we asked Nick, who knows a thing about beer and food, he told us one of his favorite pairings is their Jelly Fruited Sour Ale with the aforementioned blue cheese fries, saying that the acid of the beer cuts right through the fat and rich layers of the popular fries.

Of course, they do have a nice selection of beers in bottles and cans as well. There are also wines by the glass and bottle (thanks to Nick’s wife, Michelle), as well as specialty drinks, margarita flights, spiked shakes, and more.

And, speaking of beers, Fat Patties features “happy hour” discounts and drink specials on their beers and more from 4pm to 6pm Monday to

Mmmm… Photo by Fat Patties

Friday (as well as all day Saturday). There’s also their popular “Parris Island grads eat free” every Friday, as well as 25% off all food for Active Duty military and veterans every Monday (thanks from a proud Army veteran!). Other weekly specials, which are posted on a chalkboard above the kitchen pass, currently include: Tequila Tuesday, Trivia Night Wednesday, Karaoke Night Thursday, Fish Fryday, aforementioned drink specials all day Saturday, and BOGO half-off apps on Sundays (as well as $5 Bloody Marys and mimosas).

Finally, if that weren’t enough, they even produce their own ice cream. Deanna says some current crazy flavor faves include Burnt Marshmallow (which also makes for a great spiked shake) and Bourbon Pecan Pie, but that there are a ton of others to suit any taste (though we’re almost always too full to indulge).

Full disclosure: we’ve never had a cheeseburger in paradise at one of many Parrot head havens, including more than two dozen Margaritaville restaurants (as well as 30-plus more across three other restaurant brands), lots of resorts, campgrounds, clubs, and other accommodations options, “55 and better” communities, including Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head. We have a book signing there this fall and may just have to try another cheeseburger in this paradise we call the Lowcountry.

Fat Patties

831 Parris Island Gateway

Beaufort, SC 29906

(843) 379-1500

Open Monday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm, and Sunday, 11am to 9pm


Beaufort-based travel journalists Lynn and Cele Seldon (www.seldonink.com) often cover culinary travel around the world and Lowcountry Weekly lured them to write a monthly feature covering the local food scene. This includes articles about restaurants, chefs, food-focused stores, farms, farmers, farmers markets, and more. They welcome suggestions for topics.