- 1202 W. Niagara St., Tucson, AZ, 85745
- Overall User Rating:
- (4 ratings)
- Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
What was ordered: This time, a chili dog ($1.25), big Pat's cheeseburger ($1.85), small fries ($1.20), a bowl of chili ($1.80) and two large soft drinks ($1.40 each) for a total of $9.67, way under our Cheap Eats goal of a meal for two for less than $20.
Comments: Pat's is the kind of place you'd love to hate just to be different, because everybody and their brother love Pat's.
Forget about being an edgy nonconformist and face it. You're a Pat's-loving lemming. It's too good, too cheap, too unique, too cheap, too historic, and too cheap not to love.
Did I mention cheap?
This is how cheap, how good, and how unique: Order two chili dogs, "fries for two," and two medium drinks, and pay three pennies more than $7, out the door.
You and yours will be happy.
You and yours will be full.
Later, you and yours will be subject to minutes and possibly hours of aftereffects that may prompt separate settling parlors— preferably of the al fresco variety.
It's a small price to pay for an experience so comprehensively sublime.
My favorite way to do the dog is with cheese and the spicy (not mild) variety of chili. The person you'll see through the window making a dozen of them at a time will tuck the cheese into the bun, then plunk in the dog. The cheese becomes the grout, and the cohesion yields a perfectly consistent foundation of the flavors and textures of the bun, cheese and dog in every bite. The trinity is then expertly tricked out with the spicy heat and tang of the runny, house-made chili with beans and little nudges from the razor-thin stripe of mustard and strafing of diced onions. Pure genius.
The big Pat's burger ($1.85 with cheese) gets far less attention than the dog, and is not exactly a looker, but I defy you to find a bigger or better '50s-style burger for the price.
And then there are the fries—hand-cut, piping hot, and limp as noodles. Yes, they're greasy. Yes, you more or less eat them in clumps as opposed to discreet members and, yes, they are oh-so good. They shouldn't even be called fries. The best I can come up with is "Pat's deep-fried trailer-park potato pasta."
As for the pink lemonade, billed as being nearly as legendary as the dogs and fries, I say not so much. Pretty standard-issue, go-through-the-motions pink lemonade for my money.
Who cares? This is the kind of stuff that screams for the carbonation and full-on sweetness of a coke or a root beer, not the cute stuff.
Service: Order and pick up your food at the windows outside or the counter inside.
Bottom line: The hungrier you are, the better and cheaper Pat's gets: four chili dogs and a box (and I mean a box) of fries for $7.25. They call it the "Family Deal," but more often than not, it's ordered and devoured by deuces. Upgrade to the large drinks and you're still looking at less than $12. Throw in a pair of Big Pat's burgers, onion rings, and a side of chili, and you'll still be under our Cheap Eats ceiling of $20.
Do it. I dare you. You'll never forget it. Just don't plan on doing any productive work anytime soon, and don't make any sudden moves that your heart and/or stomach may not be so crazy about keeping up with for a few hours.