Last weekend I was at a wedding in Nashville and worked a few burgers into the schedule. A stop at Rotier's to visit old friends was a must and lunch at the local favorite Fat Mo's was in order.
During the research for Hamburger America the book I visited a bunch of talked-about burger joints in and around Nashville. Rotier's and Brown's Diner made it into the book but one spot, Fat Mo's was cut because it failed on the 'must have a burger on the menu for over 20 years' rule. Opened in 1990, Fat Mo's is soon eligible so we'll see what happens. They make one helluva burger and I'd like to put them in the next edition of the book.
The nondescript box near the I-440 and I-65 interchange is the original location of Fat Mo's which has now spawned a 14-store mini-chain in metro Nashville. Fat Mo's has two drive-thru lanes, one on each side of the building. One of the lanes, it seems, you'd have to get your order through the passenger window. There is no talkback box so someone comes out to your car to take your order which you then collect at the window. It's a bit lo-tech but it works.
The burger menu is slightly confusing offering a 1/2 pound Fat Mo and a 1/2 pound Double Mo. A typo? Nope. The Fat Mo is one large 1/2 pound patty whereas the Double Mo is made of two 1/4 pound patties. It makes sense to offer different patties to customers with different tastes - The thick-patty people need to order a Fat Mo and the thin patty lovers (myself included) need the Double Mo. Simply put, the Double Mo is the same size burger with twice as much griddle char.
Served on a toasted white squishy the burger is an American classic with the exception of the seasoning. Fat Mo's owners Mo and Shiva Karimy hail from Iran so the burgers do have an unmistakable Middle Eastern essence. The patties are seasoned with a subtle mixture of pepper and another unidentifiable tasty spice.
As you can see from the photo of my Double Mo the ubiquitous golden arches loom in the background. But that's not all - the Southern burger chain Krystal is across the street and Checkers is just down the road. That said, you'd be a fool to get to this part of town and not choose Fat Mo's.