Walking down Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, you will definitely notice Fat Ronnie’s MV Burger bar. First of all, the space is white and modern and inviting. Not that the idea of a burger bar isn’t seductive enough, but seriously, the space is wonderful. So clean and crisp and different from any other small place to grab a bite to eat.
Fat Ronnie’s is Reynaldo Faust’s newest endeavor. Yes, that same Rey that owned the Oak Bluffs gym, Muscle Disipline, for twenty years, has opened a burger bar. I too was a little perplexed. After talking with him, however, I learned that burgers were a big part of his childhood.
When Rey was a boy, his father owned Maxine’s in Manhattan. This favorite local spot was known for its amazing burger. Maxine was Rey’s grandmother and the restaurant was named in her memory. Rey grew up in this restaurant — cooking, cleaning, managing, you name it he did it. He learned a lot about the restaurant world.
Fast forward decades later. The gym has been closed since 2006, and Rey has spent the past seven years as Mr. Mom.
Now he is ready for the next adventure. Reynaldo is following in his father’s footsteps. The restaurant is named after his dad Ronnie. Funny though, everyone thinks Rey’s name is Ronnie, and he’s even begun answering to it.
Rey has wanted to open Fat Ronnie’s for years, and he finally found the right space. He designed the inside on his own (quite impressive), and worked on his special burger meat recipe for what seemed like forever.
It took him about 100 different combinations to find the right mix. The one thing I can tell you is that the meat is 100% Angus. Apparently it’s a big trend for burger bars to have their own secret signature blend of meat. It’s what keeps people coming back again and again.
Now that he has the perfect combination for his burgers, let’s talk about what else sets his burgers apart from the rest. First of all, there are 22+ toppings to choose from — different types of cheeses, sour cream, guac, olives, green peppers, pickles, caramelized onions and more. BYOB – build your own burger!
And get this, there is no charge for toppings. You could have everything and it wouldn’t cost you a penny more. How awesome is that?
The menu is pretty basic, but is growing weekly as Rey and his staff get in the groove of working in the tiny, open kitchen at Fat Ronnie’s. The classics are the Fat Ronnie, a 1/2lb burger, and the Little Ronnie, a 1/4lb burger.
Plus, there are many other options such as: turkey burgers, vegan/gluten free veggie burgers, burger subs (think of steak and cheese subs), burger wraps, hot dogs, and JUMBO wings. Yes, my friends, these are the biggest wings I’ve ever seen! Generally, prices range from $8 – $10, but the Mini Ronnie is only $5!
Of course there are fries too! What burger is complete without its best friends? The fries are a special crispy cut. Don’t forget to ask for the special dipping sauce for the fries. It’s a secret family recipe from Maxine, Rey’s grandma. It’s mayo based, with 12 different spices. It’s delish!
Rey wouldn’t even give me a hint as to any of the ingredients. I thought pickles, but he says no. If you can figure out all 12 spices, he’d give you free burgers for the Summer, but I bet it won’t happen.
As I mentioned, the menu is a work in progress. Soon, there will be milkshakes, fish burgers, stuffed burgers (with cheese and stuff-yum), and more. All of which you can enjoy in the great, comfy white seats, or at the stainless steel “family” table in the center of the space.
Rey is hoping people will gather there, enjoy their burgers, and talk with other people. When he traveled in Europe, many places had tables like this, where people would stand, eat, and meet fellow customers. Rey loves the concept.
Interestingly, the restaurant space where Fat Ronnie’s is located has a long history of being a burger joint — I had no idea. In the 1950′s, it was the Frosty Cottage which was known for its “Wiffle Burger.” In the 1970′s, it was Mr. C’s and was known for the “Mr. C” burger. In the 1980′s, it was Neptune’s Grill, but was still known for its fish burger, hence why there has to be a fish burger on the menu today.
As a matter of fact, in the Fall, Rey is going to have a throwback burger week. He plans to feature all the beloved burgers from those places. People have given him the menus, and he’s really excited about the project. Maybe we’ll see some “throwback” prices too, but I think 50-cents is little cheap for one of these fabulous burgers.
The last few years have been a little rocky for this space, but Rey believes that it’s meant to be a burger place and will do well. He’s already blown away by the success he’s seen.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a Fat Ronnie’s open in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. It’s all in Rey’s game-plan.
So, let me answer the question you’re asking, how is the burger? It was really good. I’ve never had the opportunity to build my own burger like this before. Some of the ingredients, like sour cream, I sort of turned my nose up at. However, Rey said try it. He originally added it as a topping because his daughter Reyna suggested it.
For my burger, I did get the Fat Ronnie. I added olives, sour cream, guac, salsa, and pickles. It was awesome. I ate the whole thing. I couldn’t stop.
I ate some fries too of course, and loved the special dipping sauce. I feel as though I have to come clean about this. If you do it too…know you’re not alone.
Fat Ronnie’s will be open from April until as long as possible into the offseason. Rey is hoping for November. There’s no heat, but luckily it’s small enough to be warm from the grill.
Also, it’s open from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily. That’s right – long after most other places close on the Island, Fat Ronnie’s is still whipping up the good stuff. This is a good fact to know during the Summer months.
When you go, and I am guessing you will, let me know how you like your burger and what toppings you choose! You could literally go everyday of the year and have something different each time. I love everything about Fat Ronnie’s MV Burgers. They even play cool music!
What burger will Rey be known for? I bet the Fat Ronnie.
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