Fette Sau is a cult favorite in Williamsburg and after my Fishtown visit I can see why. Stephen Starr partnered with the Brooklyn owner and added his signature showmanship to Fette Sau's perfect BBQ. The restaurant also boasts, "the best American whiskey list in Philadelphia."
Address: 1208 Frankford Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 391-244
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5pm-11pm, Fri: 5-12pm, Sat: Noon-12am, Sun: Noon-11pm, Bar open until @am everyday
Stephen Starr, the celebrity restauranteur has long been accused of poaching ideas from other cities around the globe and reinventing them for Philadelphians in a sort of Disney World fashion. Say what you will about Starr, but his success is unprecedented and his restaurants are unmatched for their ambiance, oh and the food is pretty decent too. Fette Sau is no exception. When you walk into this southern BBQ joint on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown it's like walking onto a movie set; though it's not "glitzy," it's breathtakingly gorgeous and as always with Starr, a novel experience. Except this time instead of poaching his inspiration from New York he just partnered up with the creator of the original Fette Sau, once the toast of Brooklyn, added his signature flare and brought it into Philly for us rubes to enjoy. Thank you, Stephen.
Less than an year after bringing Germany to Fishtown with his Beer Garden Frankford Hall, he brought true Southern BBQ directly next door. For a lot of people who were not familiar with Fishtown Stephen Starr provided an introduction, which is good or bad depending on who you ask, but there's not denying that these two establishments a great places to hang out in the neighborhood. While I would NEVER recommend Frankford Hall for the dining experience, Fette Sau is pretty great all around. Directly to the left of Frankford Hall outside of what was once an abounded space hangs a pretty pink and brown sign bearing the words "Fette Sau" which means Fat Pig in German. Walk through a brick alley way which opens up a courtyard with long picnic tables fairytale lighting and ample, at times scorching, heat lamps. The restaurant itself has a kind of Roadhouse locking facade with a front porch and antique lawn furniture, but when you walk in it's giant, open and modern.
Once again Stephen Starr has decided to usurp traditional waiter service and opt for a sort of cafeteria style pick up. I recommend hitting the bar first so that you can relax in the food line with a beverage. Fette Sau's website boasts, "craft beer and the best American Whiskey List in Philadelphia." So there's that. If you're the type to enjoy you're whiskey straight up than that's a great option but there wasn't much in the way of specialty cocktails. Then you head to the food line. Though it sort of feels like a high-end cafeteria it's a nice break from the norm. It's a pretty simple set-up choose from a selection if smoked meats and then a couple of sides. The side aren't particularly exciting in themselves, broccoli salad or burnt end baked beans anyone? They are meant to compliment the star of the show which is the tender, mouthwatering meats. This is really NO place for vegetarians. The meats include Pork Belly, Ribs, Flank Steak, Brisket and Shortrib. They are all smoked and seasoned to perfection and served by the pound. The meats are naturally raised; hormone antibiotic and steroid free. They are left unsauced so guests can sauce to their taste preferences. It's been two weeks since my visit and I can not stop thinking about that Brisket. Fette Sau is destined to delight Fishtown the way it did Williamsburg.