TEAYS VALLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Although it's Labor Day, one local business owner isn't getting the day off. Instead, he is celebrating the opening of a new restaurant.
Monday, the doors opened up on the new Fat Patty's in Teays Valley, and there was quite the crowd.
The new restaurant is located in the old Shoney's off the Teays Valley.
With baseball season wrapping up and football season just getting underway, owner Clint Artrip tells WSAZ.com, "This restaurant is perfect to watch football games or baseball games. We have 17 large TVs, so it's great to tailgate at or see the game on TV, It's the perfect atmosphere,"
There are also Fat Patty's restaurants in Barboursville, Huntington and Ashland, Kentucky.
Clint Artrip, the owner of Fat Patty's, tells WSAZ.com "we're doing more than thinking about expanding."
"We're aggressively trying to move in two different directions," Artrip says. "The market's really strong in Teays Valley and they've got a great market in Ashland for our locations."
Artrip tells WSAZ.com they are trying to get into the CJ Maggie's old location in Ashland immediately. CJ Maggie's closed down last weekend to consolidate operations in West Virginia.
Artrip says the other location will be at a former Shoney's off the Teays Valley exit. He hopes that one is open by April or May of next year, but needs a lot of work and a major remodel job.
When asked if he was nervous about the expansion, Artrip said, "I'm scared to death."
"It's scary, but if we get lucky here and get some people from CJ Maggies to come on board and get some time to hire for Shoney's, we'll do fine. It's all about the employees, it always is," Artrip said.
Artrip tells WSAZ.com he knows he has some work ahead of him, but this was all part of his original plan.
"I'm surprised it's doing this well, obviously. I'm tickled to death about business. I always had intentions of having four restaurants. That was my goal all along," said Artrip.
And it's an expansion he says is happening quicker than he thought it would.
The original Fat Patty's opened in 2007 on 3rd Avenue in Huntington. In February of 2011, Fat Patty's expanded it's business with a Barboursville location.
Fat Patty’s was named one of the best places to eat a hamburger in the entire country.
The restaurant was featured in USA Today as one of the 51 greatest burger places across the nation.
Owner Clint Artrip says he’s immensely proud the restaurant, which opened four years ago, has become so popular.
“Our main goal was to have kind of a bar and grill atmosphere, not really a family atmosphere, and cater to the Marshall students and professors,” Artrip said. “It kind of just grew after the first year, became more food and less alcohol, less of a bar atmosphere. We still have a good bar crowd at night, but we really evolved into more of a family restaurant and casual dining.”
Huntington resident George Rooker says the distinction in USA Today is well deserved.
“I travel a lot with business,” Rooker said. “I'm in Pittsburgh a lot, Columbus, different large cities. This is as good as it gets."
They say it's creativity that sets them apart. Their menu features a variety of unique burgers such as the Luau Cow, Vampire Killer, and Patty Balboa.
Although Fat Patty’s caters to the Marshall crowd, even those from up north don't dispute Patty’s dexterity.
WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins ate there Saturday.
When you finish in the Final Four, making the top fifty-one isn't necessarily all that impressive, but Huggins was more than satisfied with his Patty Melt.
"(The ranking was) well deserved. It was very, very good."
The taste of success has only whetted Artrip’s appetite.
"The next step is to be number one in the nation overall,” he said, “not just one out of fifty."