The soul of Telluride might be found bellied up to the bar at Oak…The New Fat Alley just after the lifts close for the day, ice cold Schlitz in hand and a Carolina pulled pork sandwich nearby. That’s because owner Robbie O’Dell has, for nearly 17 years, provided the three staples Telluride’s soul often thrives on: beer, bourbon and killer barbecue.
In the early part of 2011, a wave of fear dampened locals’ outlook on the future when rumors spread far and wide that Fat Alley was closing its doors forever. No bourbon? No beer? No #*%*&$# barbecue? It was a sign of the Apocalypse. The fear was soon alleviated when the real story surfaced. O’Dell was simply moving his operation down South Oak Street to a larger location at the base of Chair 8.
While lacking some of the grittiness of the previous location, Oak…The New Fat Alley remains unpretentious, fun and just the place to soothe the soul with its friendly service, house-smoked barbecue and lively bar. The atmosphere continues to conjure a good friend’s living room. There is still a large display of softball trophies to be found and a recognizable framed picture of Professor Longhair still dons its walls.
Besides a few additions in the form of appetizers, like sliders with fries (choice of pulled pork, pulled chicken or beef; 14.95) and ceviche ($5.95), the menu at Oak hasn’t changed significantly. (If it’s not broke…) It’s hard to stay away from Oak’s smoked specialties: a hickory brisket sandwich ($10.65) is piled high, the Carolina pulled pork ($10.65), topped with a healthy haystack of coleslaw. A drizzle of housemade barbecue sauce makes this sandwich a messy affair but you won’t be alone. If, for some reason, you’re not in the mood for pork or brisket, you can’t go wrong with the cheeseburger. Sandwiches come with a side and choosing one can be quite a conundrum. To say the seasoned steak fries are better than average is an understatement but it’s really hard to go with any side other than the fried okra. It’s easy to go big at Oak. A stack of pork ribs served with two sides (full rack $23, half rack $12) or chicken fried steak ($12), as big as the plate is served on, are a couple of gut busters…and worth every bite. Nap anyone?
And the fried chicken ($12). It’s cooked to order (the wait is worth it) and may be the best in the state. Seriously.
I DARE YOU: Even though Oak has a full bar and great margaritas, if you are looking for a house specialty ask for a bacon shot. It’s a simple shot of bourbon with a side of crispy bacon. It’s a combo you’ll soon realize that works almost too well together. Caution.
SPICE IT UP: Look for bottles of Fat Alley’s own hot sauce and use it for dunking fries and okra. Dabble some on a sandwich. You’ll want to buy one to take home, which you normally can, if bottles are in stock.
$$ Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.