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Fatz Cafe, 942 East Main Street: 23 August 2023   8 comments

Posted at 7:18 pm in closing







I don't suppose this is a big surprise: We have all noticed Fatz closing locations without adding any new ones, but still I was expecting it to take longer.

The news came last week that the whole chain has shut down, with some reports of bankruptcy filings, though no actual links to such.

This store in Lexington was the last Midlands location, and I had never eaten there, but I would drive by from time to time, and observe that it seemed to be doing a reasonable business. In fact, as I was taking these shots, several cars wandered in, looking for a meal.

It's a good sized building, and there are already an Asian buffet and a San Jose in the general area, so we'll have to see what happens next here.

Here are stories on the chain closing shop in The Index Journal, The State & The Greenville Sun.

(Hat tip to commenter Alan)

Written by ted on August 29th, 2023

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to 'Fatz Cafe, 942 East Main Street: 23 August 2023'

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  1. I ate at the one on Forest Drive decades ago. The food was OK, but like O'charley's and Ruby Tuesday there was nothing very notable about it. Doesn't surprise me that it tanked.

    Mr BO

    29 Aug 23 at 8:21 pm

  2. Yeah, that's the only one I ever ate at as well, and I was similarly unimpressed. As you say: "OK".


    29 Aug 23 at 9:56 pm

  3. Poppy seed rolls with honey butter and calabash chicken. Yum!


    30 Aug 23 at 8:42 am

  4. According to The Lexington Chronicle, this location was "notorious for poor DHEC grades":,67142

    I only ate there once, more than ten years ago, and I don't remember anything notable. FATZ was never one of those restaurant chains that I heard people mention - not the way they mention Olive Garden, Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Longhorn Steakhouse, or Ruby Tuesday. I am not saying those places are always great, but people seem to "crave" those more often.


    30 Aug 23 at 3:31 pm

  5. @Robin -- "The building was often noted to be in less than subpar condition"



    30 Aug 23 at 6:18 pm

  6. I live close to this Fatz and we went there a lot about 10 years ago. They had good food and the staff were friendly and knew the menu. Fried poppy rolls (with sweet butter) were amazing!

    This is a perfect example of how a chain can put down roots. Fatz was not open for breakfast, but they would occasionally open on weekends and let non-profits do breakfast. I’m sure there was cost to the non-profit, but it was a nice touch, and they’d get folks stop in who were just driving by.

    For years an older gentleman "The Chief" was greeter/GM. He was a super guy and former firechief in Ohio who moved down here and got bored with retirement (that's the story I heard). He worked the front door and floor and made sure nobody sat too long and orders were correct. He was always laughing and cutting up, esp with the kids. When we visited, he would bring my daughter a small bowl of ice cream she was about six then.

    Chief died awhile back and honestly the place was never the same. About that time they also did a complete re-model of the restaurant, and it felt more like a cafeteria. Food was still ok, but prices started creeping up. A few times the draft beer smelled buttery/yeasty, and we started hearing 'we're out of steak' or other general items. Stuff vanished from the menu, and the last time we visited the options were pretty basic. Very sad I’ll miss this place.


    31 Aug 23 at 7:40 am

  7. My family and I ate at the Fatz in Florence a couple of months ago. They had completely overhauled the menu, and a lot of the items looked more interesting than what I had last seen at the Fatz in Camden back in May. I guess it doesn't say much that I can't remember what I had, but I do know there was something I asked for, one of the new items, and I was told they were out of it.

    One of the new items (I think it was new, anyway) was chicken and waffles, and my brother ordered it. According to the menu, it came with "house syrup". My brother made a face when he first tried it, said it tasted off, and insisted the rest of us try some. That was the weirdest tasting syrup I have ever tasted. I believe there was oregano in there? Couldn't get that taste out of my mouth for quite a while. Somebody goofed up in the kitchen, when some Log Cabin would have done just fine.

    This was on a Tuesday evening at 6:30. I suppose Tuesday evenings are not the busiest time of week for restaurants, but there may have only been 3 or 4 more tables occupied that evening. Also, this restaurant was situated right by I-95. Didn't look good.

    Clearly, that was a big sign. I find it strange that they performed this menu and sign overhaul within the last few months, only to give it very little time to see if it brought more people and money in.

    Like others have said, the signature items to get were the poppy seed rolls and Calabash chicken, which could certainly taste great when done right. They also had a quesadilla cheeseburger at one point that was really good. Over the last few years though, quality has gone downhill quite a bit.

    I'm not completely surprised Fatz is out of business.


    1 Sep 23 at 2:52 pm

  8. I too remember when "The Chief" worked there. Loved him. The restaurant was still pretty good after he passed away for a little while, but after the remodel (which I believe came with an "under new management" tag) it went downhill quickly. Last time we ate there was OK at best, and we were debating whether to give it one more chance or just write it off entirely. Guess they made the decision for us. Sad all around.


    14 Sep 23 at 1:15 pm

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