I’ve had many friends recommend me Fat Ernie’s Family Dining. It’s a staple for many people and a restaurant I’ve never been to. They are famous for their huge portions of comfort foods, breakfast and daily all-you-can-eat specials.
Depending on which day you go, it could be very packed. Monday is all-you-can-eat spaghetti for $8.29, Tuesday is chicken fettuccine alfredo for $8.29, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday is for $9.79, Thursday is country fried steak for $9.49, and Friday is catfish for $9.79.
2806 S Hydraulic
Wichita, KS 67216
Sunday – Saturday: 6am- 9pm
The place has the vibe of a true hole in the wall diner where regulars have been stopping by for decades. I’m pretty sure a majority of the men there had Nike Monarchs or Velcro shoes on. I should have brought my pair in. Fun fact: I own a pair of both.
We started off our afternoon with a bowl of their soup and salad. Both were very basic and didn’t offer much in terms of flavor. They were both very run of the mill.
For lunch, we had the breaded steak fingers and the all-you-can-eat fried chicken. The pure size of the breaded stead fingers were intimidating and it wasn’t all breading either. They weren’t half bad and encompassed everything that comfort food is. After a few of these, you’ll want to crawl back in to bed and fall asleep.
The all-you-can-eat fried chicken is a huge seller at Fat Ernie’s and I could see why. First of all, there’s a demographic of diners who love all-you-can-eat, take my mother for instance. She LOVES it. Then secondly, the chicken was well fried. I love breading on fried chicken slightly greasy, warm and containing the juicy flavor from the chicken. The chicken wasn’t bad either. It wasn’t “best chicken in the city” worthy but delicious from a hole in the wall aspect.
The sides though? They all tasted as if they came from a can – nothing a ton of black pepper couldn’t fix.
I see the appeal of Fat Ernie’s and why it draws big crowds. People aren’t going in there expecting top quality food. They want good sized portions at a good value. For many customers there, it’s a ritual for them to go in weekly. So many people there knew the servers as if they were family. It’s what they know and what they have grown accustomed to and that’s OK.
Our service was excellent there; we had zero complaints about that. People there were incredibly friendly. Compared to many places around the city, the food in general was alright and one should keep their expectations down going in.
Here’s their menu.
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