2443 Wylie Ave., Hill District
Gaylord Williams remembers staring at the vacant storefront at 2443 Wylie Ave. and imagining how he could help fill the Hill District's culinary void.
Working construction in a building across the street, "I used to just look over here from the window," recalls Williams, 45, a lifelong Hill resident. "And I said, 'It's mine.'"
After months spent refurbishing the empty building, Williams opened Fat Daddy's in June. The sandwich shop, named after his great uncle, offers meat-packed sandwiches, gyros and wraps at inexpensive prices.
"We don't make sandwiches, we build them," says Williams, also Fat Daddy's chef. "We put a lot of meat on our sandwiches."
Case in point: Fat Daddy's gyro. Costing just $4.99, the soft pita is loaded with thick slices of gyro meat and generously topped with lettuce, tomato and sauce. "That's the top seller," says Williams, noting that he learned a few gyro-making tips from "some old Greek gentlemen" in Mount Oliver. "The gyro is number one."
It's especially popular in the Hill, he adds, because "no one around here has a gyro."
Fat Daddy's menu also includes a gourmet burger, barbecued grilled-chicken sandwich and rib-eye steak wrap, all priced at less than $6. "People don't have a lot of money around here," says Williams.
Most customers live in the Hill, he says, but workers employed at nearby construction sites also frequent the sandwich shop. "We have a lot of repeat customers," Williams says. "That's what's driving us in this early stage."
While most customers order sandwiches to go, Fat Daddy's offers an eat-in counter. And if you're interested in a bargain dessert, Fat Daddy's also sells Hershey's hard ice cream ($1.50 for regular cones; $2 for a cup; $2.50 for a large waffle cone). "The ice cream attracts the kids," Williams says.
Williams' wife, Beverly, who works the register, says she's been surprised how successful the restaurant has become in just a few months. "I didn't think it was going to turn out as well as it has," says Beverly, 46, a former receptionist at Mercy Hospital's emergency room. "[People] are just happy about having a place that serves nothing but good sandwiches."
And as her husband says, "Good food and friendly service can go a long way."