Fat Cats Pizza is dead to me

“The only way to hurt a man who has lost everything is to give him back something broken." – Thomas Covenant

There was a survey on FARK a few days ago about where readers thought the best pizza in the world was. Everyone had their hometown favorite. My hometown favorite was Fat Cat Pizza in Lancaster, OH. “Was” is the word that puts the anchovies in that sentence.

We started picking up Fat Cat Pizza around 1979. They wouldn’t deliver out to our house out in the country so we had to drive through the bad side of town, the West Side, to get it. They had the BEST freaking pizza. The crust was thin and crisp. The sauce…(Here’s where I realize I am not a food critic nor am I keen to taste adjectives. Let’s just say it was great pizza.)

There was a Fat Cat’s West and a Fat Cat’s East. Rumor had it that a happily married pizza business couple became unhappy and split the family business, as well as the town of Lancaster, in half. The wife took Fat Cat’s West and hubby, Fat Cat’s East. I can’t remember the woman’s name, but she had a dog named Bear.

My brother started working at Fat Cat around 1983. My sister in 1985. I started in 1986. It was a family affair. You’d go in at either 4 or 5 and work until midnight. The dough was made in the morning and allowed to rise in wheeled, Rubbermaid trash cans. You would grab a ball of it and throw it in the flattening machine. A toss here and there and then on to the pie pan. There was some hand held, mid-evil torture device made from plastic that put dents in the dough. Add sauce, cheese and toppings. Into the oven you witch! Ta da, magically a cooked pizza came out the other side. In the box and cut it into squares with the giant, stainless steel scythe. In between pizzas there was time to fold boxes and drink free pop out of flour coated mason jars. What a job.

Then three-a-days started with Coach Redmen in football and I pussied out. I couldn’t keep up with going from 6am practices through midnight making pizzas. So I quit Fat Cat Pizza.

I didn’t quit eating it though. In my opinion, nothing beats a pepperoni/mushroom. I dreamed of it in Alaska and wrote about it in my journal when Acton and I went to Europe. At family gatherings we would always get Fat Cat’s the night before turkey. If you were late, dad would heat up slices in the oven. If you were really late, the microwave.

Now I live in Columbus and Fat Cat’s is still within reach. If I drive down, I can order it from the car and pick it up right as it comes out of the oven. It would still be warm when I got it home, but half of it would get devoured in the car. Corners first and eat inward.

Greg had a party recently. We went out to the Lancaster bars. I left my credit card at one. The perfect excuse to go back to Lancaster and get Fat Cat’s. The following Monday I drove down. I ordered. Picked-up. I was eating a corner within three minutes on the way back to Columbus…

And something was horribly, horribly wrong. The crust was different. Some kind of French bread crap. It was slightly thicker and had a taste that was not Fat Cat’s. The sauce was the same as well as the pepperoni and the mushrooms, but the combination of flavors was not Fat Cat’s. I kept eating squares, hoping that something would change. Nothing did. Doug wept.

I immediately called a few friends. I finally tracked down one that corroborated my taste buds. He had it a few weeks ago and it tasted different to him too. It was true. And an era was over.

Farewell Fat Cat’s.

Author’s note: I haven’t done it yet, but please feel free to call Fat Cat’s at 740-687-1966 and voice my displeasure. Tell them HolyJuan is pissed.


RickySilk said...

A football jock? I wouldn't have guessed it.

HolyJuan said...

Jock? No. I broke more bones than started games. Two arm bones and two toes. I started two games my senior year when Recchi hurt his neck and they needed a warm body to fill his spot. Included in the injury count were two concussions. Maybe three, I forget.

Anonymous said...

I was an Eastside girl. Back in the day, didn't Fat Cats West deliver more than pizza? (*ahem*) Maybe that's why you remember it being the best pizza ever.

Probably just a rumor.

HolyJuan said...

A revolution begins with two. And a twenty-two. Let's get this dough ball rolling.

Anonymous said...

#1 fqatcats never delivered what one blogger suggested. #2 the same person has made the dough and sauce from the begining of Fatcat's existence. #3 I was their bookeeper for years and can not ever remember writing yours or your families paychecks? Alberta's dog was a chow, Bear bit my son when he was 4. The meanest dog I ever met.

HolyJuan said...

You might be able to count money, but you don't seem to know anything about Fat Cats.

#1 There is no truth to the rumor that the drivers delivered weed. Though they always had a lot of cash and reeked of the stuff.

#2 The crust is different. That is a fact.

#3 Where in this article do you see my name? How can you know what name was on the check if it isn't in this article.

#4 Alberta! That was her name... thanks for the refresher.

Listen, I worked there. I know what I am talking about. The crust is different. It's shitty and that is that. Tell the one person who has been making the crust and sauce to go back to the original recipe and I'll come back.

Anonymous said...

I was just at Fat Cats' new location on Ety Road wanting dinner last night. They REALLY have gone to hell. Not only did they screw up my buddy's order, they also let us wait half an hour, without a SHRED of customer service-ly things like a drink refill. After exiting the door, someone claiming to be the manager/owner ran out after us, wanting us to pay for a meal we never got.

Ron Blankenship and his wife (new owners) and **** themselves now, I'm NEVER going back. Well, they can go **** themselves after the lawyers do for check fraud!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Travis, pizza is different and the place is ran poorly. They have cute little waitresses in the dining room that try to make the bad experience more managable but the food takes FOREVER!! As for Christa(owner/manager) she needs to lay off the alcohol and focus on how to run a restaurant. According to her employees she's nicer when she drinks so they try not to notice. This is not a place I would ever suggest for a meal or a job!!

Unknown said...

Hello Juan my name is Doug if you remember the old Fat Cats than you will remember me. I drove a red 1968 Chevy Camaro SS I am, the Fat Cats stepson my mother is Alberta. the place you referred to as Fat Cats isn't in reality even close to the old Fat Cats. my mother sold the name to Christa and Ronnie some years ago. If you would like to get a taste of something as close to the old Fat Cats as you can get. my sisters with nearly 100 years of combined pizza knowledge, who were the backbone of the old Fat Cats, opened a pizza shop about 15 years ago here in Lancaster, at 147 Cedar Hill Rd. But I would call early there can be up to a 2 hour wait time people love... Sugar Bears pizza they come from all over with the same story you have I hope you try it, and I hope you like it.

Unknown said...

They aren't there anymore. They are at Sugar Bears

Anonymous said...

What was the year the old fat cats opened their doors for business in Lancaster Ohio ? I go back to remember Washington Av , Crdar Hill and then there was one out on Sheridan Dr