An Early Look at Fat Shorty’s (Pictures and Menu)

Sausages, mussels, and Belgian brews arrive in Clarendon.

Creamy green broth blankets Thai-style mussels, served with toasted bread for soaking up the juices. Photographs by Jeff Elkins

Whether you’re in the mood for an exotic white wine rabbit sausage, eggplant-based
vegan Italian, or an old-fashioned brat, you’ll find them all at a new sausage shop:
Fat Shorty’s, which opened this week in Clarendon.

We first broke the news
back in February that restaurateur
Aaron Gordon planned to transform his salad-and-sandwich concept, Rabbit, into a Belgian-inspired
eatery serving sausages, mussels, and beer. The makeover is complete—you’ll now find
long beer-hall-style tables, dangling string lights, antique meat grinders lining
the walls, and a ten-seat outdoor patio for drinking oversize steins in the sun.

A second version of the classic Belgian dish gets a beer-based broth and hunks of sweet Italian sausage.

You may recognize chef
Rahman “Rock” Harper from his winning role on
Hell’s Kitchen or his work as an instructor with DC Central Kitchen. He still teaches at the nonprofit,
training at-risk men and women to find work through the culinary arts, and some former
pupils are already employed by Fat Shorty’s. Harper is also behind the lineup of meats
and mussels. From the menu you’ll choose from nearly 20 varieties of sausages, many from local companies
including Logan Sausage, Charlottesville’s Sausage Craft, and Binkert’s out of Baltimore.
Spicy chorizo, sweet Italian, andouille, and more can be tucked into a Lyon Bakery
bun and topped with fixings like grilled onion, sweet or hot peppers, and kraut or
served on a platter with vinegary potato salad, field greens, or baked beans. Less
traditional riffs include sausages made with rattlesnake, wild boar, and alligator,
and specialty versions like Sausage Craft’s Hot Amerikrainer, a pork and beef mixture
laced with pickled peppers and sharp cheddar. Vegans will find an eggplant sausage
spiced with garlic and red wine. A variety of mustards are available for slathering,
as is freshly made mumbo sauce.

In addition to the meats and faux meats, Harper whips up two kinds of mussels: Thai-style
bivalves simmered in green curry and others cooked with Italian sausage and beer.
The latter ingredient naturally pairs well with the whole menu, and you can pick from
cold Belgian and German bottles of Delerium Tremens and Leffe or one of six German
and Belgian drafts poured into 32-ounce steins. Orders happen at a counter for quick
service—particularly suited to the lunch crowd and families with kids—but servers
will then deliver trays and take additional drink and food orders, meaning those with
more time can relax over a few brews.

Fat Shorty’s. 3035 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-5660.
Regular hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 AM to 11 PM, and Friday and Saturday 11 AM to
2 AM.

Exotic sausages include rattlesnake and alligator. Temper the bite with a sweet pepper topping.
More into meat than bread? Platters combine two links of your choice, with sides such as baked beans and crispy fries.
Long picnic-style tables and dangling string lights give the feeling of eating in a German beer garden.
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.