New Fatburger, Kanye Nowhere to Be Found

Kanye West may or may not be responsible for Chicago’s newest fast-food chain

By Matt Bartosik
|  Saturday, Oct 18, 2008  |  Updated 5:44 PM CDT
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New Fatburger, Kanye Nowhere to Be Found

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Kanye West is a producer, rapper, poet, songwriter, and philanthropist, but is he a franchisee also?

We Americans truly are a strange bunch sometimes. Many of our fast-food chains have followings so strong and loyal, you'd think they were religions. And yesterday, a new restaurant has been added to the Chicago bunch.

Admittedly, Fatburger doesn't have quite the same admiring audiences that competitors Sonic and In-N-Out do. In fact, the chain's big debut in the Midwest was actually quite subtle. There were no hours-long lines and no big announcements (outside of the Internet). I don't think I've even seen so much as a commercial or a billboard. The most excited people were probably the overly perky employees.

So just what does Fatburger bring to its new home in Orland Park? Exactly what it sounds like: a big, fat burger. The namesake is a one-third pound of beef topped with mustard, relish, onions, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise. If you aren't full just from reading that, the Kingburger is the same, but weighs in at one-half pound. And to challenge all that is decent, the Kingburger can be doubled and even tripled.

Perhaps those last two gigantic masses of meat should come with at least a free week-long gym membership.

And whom do we have to thank for bringing us these food-coma inducers? Hip-hop artist Kanye West is behind this particular franchise and owns the rights to develop at least nine more in the Chicago area.

At least, we think so.

When Heather Shouse of The TOC Blog called to confirm that West was indeed the franchisee, the acting manager replied, "This is Fatburger Corporation, not a franchise, and I don't care if Crain's or the Chicago Tribune has been saying Kanye owns it, they also said the Cubs were gonna win, right? Plus, does it make a difference? We're open and we're making burgers."

A call to marketing manager Maria Brooks at the headquarters in Santa Monica, California wasn't very helpful either: "We cannot comment on whether or not Kanye West is involved."

Perhaps Kanye isn't responsible after all. Considering his slim build, he certainly isn't eating any Fatburgers.

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