The sandwiches, barbeque and soul food at Fat Chance Sandwich Shop in Brooklyn Park require more than a few

napkins, but the community is finding the affordable food is worth the messy hands.

“Our motto here is ‘fat chance, not skinny chance,’” said Ken Pettit-Rivord, general manager at Fat Chance. “Nothing we do here is little.”

The shop opened to much fanfare in June 2016, Pettit-Rivord said.

“When we opened in June, the line was out the door,” he said.

Its popularity has been growing as of late, and the restaurant has been drawing food fans from surrounding cities, he said. The shop is co-owned by Ben and Renay Dossmon.

“I was tired of having to drive to Maple Grove or Minneapolis to get food,” Ben said.

“I think that we fit some sort of need that has been missing in Brooklyn Park,” Pettit-Rivord said. Located at 8419 West Broadway Ave., they picked the location because of its proximity to North Hennepin Community College.

“Having a place that was affordable with large portions that was close to the school was the main focus,” he said.

Word-of-mouth and Facebook have been the main drivers of new customers, Pettit-Rivord said.

Before opening the shop, in June 2015, Pettit-Rivord and other employees at Fat Chance would go to fairs, such as the Wisconsin State Fair, with a food truck to show off their smoked meats. Some of the people that have worked for Fat Chance also worked with the food truck, he said.

While the shop has a sandwich focus – smoked meat – both in sandwiches and as a solo item make an appearance on the menu. Spare ribs, rib tips, chicken wings and pulled pork sandwiches are all regular menu items.

Though the restaurant is currently offering spare ribs, in the past it has worked with baby back and St. Louis style cuts as well. Its ribs typically take 4 to 8 hours to smoke, depending on the size, he said.

In the future, Fat Chance would like to smoke all of its meat in-house, Pettit-Rivord said. When possible, the shop uses locally-sourced ingredients, he said. Their desserts, bread and soda are all locally sourced.

“We really work at being a community-based small business that uses the resources in the community to the best of our ability” he said.

On Friday nights and Saturdays, Fat Chance has a soul food special.

“You get one meat and two sides,” Pettit-Rivord said.

Meat choices rotate, but choices include fried catfish, fried chicken, smothered chicken, smothered pork chops and ox tails. Sides include greens with turkey tails, yams with red beans and rice, potato salad, coleslaw, french fries, onion rings and cornbread.

“One of the things that is also unique about us is we really want to open this space up as a place to have community nights, to work with the school to do an open mic night ... and really trying to engage the people that are around in the community,” Pettit-Rivord said. “We’re trying to figure that out within the next couple months,”

The shop likes to bring customers in on its naming process, he said. It may have a naming contest for their new pulled chicken sandwich, he said.

Pettit-Rivord said the restaurant plans to continue experimenting with menu ideas, both from the kitchen and from customers. Its Sriracha mayo, which now comes with every order of french fries, began as an experiment, he said.

Ben also founded Affirmation House, a nonprofit that provides housing services to those experiencing long-term homelessness. They have been open to hiring people in the program, Pettit-Rivord said.

“We’re also like a second chance company,” he said.

“Our biggest thing is community, and reaching out to people who may not get a chance,” Pettit-Rivord added.

“We hire people that would typically have a hard time getting hired anywhere else,” Ben said.

He said people take for granted that they can apply for a job or housing without their background becoming an issue.

Contact Kevin Miller at

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