Local chef focuses on homemade freshness

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  • NICK VISCONTI, kitchen manager at Fatt Boys Bar and Grille in Kalispell has a life-long passion for food that began with his Sicilian roots.

  • 1

    A CUSTOM chicken sandwich with bacon prepared by Visconti.

  • 2

    A classic Ruben cut into halves and waiting for fresh fries at Fatt Boys in Kalispell. The sandwich is made on marble rye bread with corn beef, sour kraut, Swiss cheese, and a sweet/hot mustard.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 3

    VISCONTI MAKES sure the plate is perfect as he prepares a cobb salad with eggs, tomato, cucumber, bacon, blue cheese and turkey over the house green mix.

  • 4

    VISCONTI WITH Chuck McWilliams, left, and Forest Bradley, right, working in the busy kitchen at Fatt Boys.

  • 5

    FRENCH FRIES fresh out of the fryer are topped with house seasoning before serving.

  • 6

    Nick Visconti piles toppings onto a Greek Gyro sandwich at Fatt Boys on Wednesday, February 1, in Kalispell. The sandwich is made on pita bread, with gyro meats (lamb and beef), shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 7

    A classic Ruben plated up and ready to be served at Fatt Boys in Kalispell. The sandwich is made on marble rye bread with corn beef, sour kraut, Swiss cheese, and a sweet/hot mustard.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 8

    Three new dishes at Fatt Boys that have already become popular favorites are the Green Chili Burger, left, the Cobb Salad, right, and the Greek Gyro.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • NICK VISCONTI, kitchen manager at Fatt Boys Bar and Grille in Kalispell has a life-long passion for food that began with his Sicilian roots.

  • 1

    A CUSTOM chicken sandwich with bacon prepared by Visconti.

  • 2

    A classic Ruben cut into halves and waiting for fresh fries at Fatt Boys in Kalispell. The sandwich is made on marble rye bread with corn beef, sour kraut, Swiss cheese, and a sweet/hot mustard.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 3

    VISCONTI MAKES sure the plate is perfect as he prepares a cobb salad with eggs, tomato, cucumber, bacon, blue cheese and turkey over the house green mix.

  • 4

    VISCONTI WITH Chuck McWilliams, left, and Forest Bradley, right, working in the busy kitchen at Fatt Boys.

  • 5

    FRENCH FRIES fresh out of the fryer are topped with house seasoning before serving.

  • 6

    Nick Visconti piles toppings onto a Greek Gyro sandwich at Fatt Boys on Wednesday, February 1, in Kalispell. The sandwich is made on pita bread, with gyro meats (lamb and beef), shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 7

    A classic Ruben plated up and ready to be served at Fatt Boys in Kalispell. The sandwich is made on marble rye bread with corn beef, sour kraut, Swiss cheese, and a sweet/hot mustard.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 8

    Three new dishes at Fatt Boys that have already become popular favorites are the Green Chili Burger, left, the Cobb Salad, right, and the Greek Gyro.(Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

Nick Visconti got his start cooking in kitchens in Tucson, Arizona, but his passion for food is a lifelong obsession. With his Sicilian roots, Visconti has memories of helping in the kitchen with his mother, father and grandparents from a very young age.

“I was always in the kitchen, every chance I got,” Visconti said.

Visconti has a long history here in the Flathead, having worked as head chef and general manager for nine years at Ciao Mambo in Whitefish.

“The best Italian food in the valley is in my house,” he added with a smile.

Although he has no problem doing the job of chef, it isn’t a term that he particularly enjoys. He prefers the title “kitchen manager,” which is his current position at Fatt Boys in Kalispell. In this role Visconti said he has more freedom and the chance to work toward his personal vision.

That vision revolves around food made fresh. He prefers locally sourced, fresh and homemade.

“When I was growing up everything was homemade, everything was made fresh,” Visconti said. “I didn’t know what store-bought cookies were when I was a kid.

“I love food. But more than that, I love people who love food. I love the look on someone’s face as they’re leaving the restaurant after a good and satisfying meal.”

This is one of the reasons he said he’s such a good fit at Fatt Boys. The direction the restaurant decided to go with its offerings is toward comfort.

“What’s great about working here at Fatt Boys is I have virtually no limits,” Visconti said. “Chris [Gillette, the owner] knows me, he knows what I can do, and he trusts me. And the direction we are going is comfort foods. Our customers have responded and these style dishes have gotten really big here.”

In addition to a menu filled with comfort foods, Fatt Boys has recently started some new things too. They are doing more catering and delivering lunches, and have added an option where clients can sign up for text messages of the daily specials.

Though many things are changing, one that won’t be going away is the Super Bowl Special. For 17 years Fatt Boys has been making traditional gumbo with ingredients like shrimp, andouille sausage, green peppers, spices and corn on the cob served over rice. On Super Bowl Sunday they plan to make between four and five gallons of gumbo, and expect it to sell out.

Visconti has been in the valley for 16 years, and said for him, the appeal of a place like Fatt Boys is that it’s fun.

“I’ve done it all in this business, from gourmet to Italian and everything in between,” he said. “With bar food there is a lot of playing around I can do.”

Fatt Boys is located at 1307 U.S. 2 W. in Kalispell. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/FattBoys/ or call 406-752-8111.

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