Sue Albert celebrates 40 years in business as owner of popular restaurant Greeley Fat Albert’s this month.
Albert had worked in restaurants doing a variety of different jobs like waitress, bartender and accounting when she decided to take a chance and open her own establishment on March 1, 1982. Forty years later, she serves always delicious food and mouth-watering pies at the restaurant, 1717 23rd ave.
“I thought, ‘I’m working really hard for somebody else. I should be doing it myself. It was here, and it was called The Teller at the time. It was supposed to be the Greeley’s first fine dining restaurant, but it didn’t work,” Albert said. “So I called John Todd, I said, ‘What do you think? I don’t have any money, but I have a strong will.
After the failed sale of the business, Todd decided to give Albert a chance to run his own restaurant. While he couldn’t change the rent price, Todd took the equipment loan and allowed Albert to pay what she could for the first year.
“It was kind of like a whole bunch of little miracles that came together to make this place a reality,” she said.
The name “Fat Albert’s” comes from her husband’s college nickname.
“We thought, ‘What is this? and it’s as simple as that,” Albert said with a laugh.
Fat Albert’s menu offers appetizers like potato skins and fresh vegetables and dip, sandwiches including a Reuben and a Monte Cristo, salads, soups, burgers and entrees such as sirloin, liver and onions and baked salmon fillet. The restaurant also has a kids’ menu that offers a choice of a grilled cheese sandwich, mini corn dog nuggets, chicken strips, or cheese nachos.
“The basic menu is the same, and we spin things around. We kind of have to leave it as it is because people come for certain things,” Albert said.
And if your sweet tooth needs something, the restaurant’s homemade pies are well known throughout the community, even catching the attention of the popular TV show “Dateline.”
“When they came to do the story on Jonelle Matthews, they asked one of the officers for local stories, and he said, ‘Oh, you should go talk to Sue. That’s how this connection happened,” Albert said. “For Thanksgiving last year, we made 368 whole pies plus whatever we sold in-house.”
Fat Albert’s is one of the only places you can get coconut cream pie with meringue filling rather than whipped cream. The restaurant offers pies and cakes such as Cherry Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Zucchini Cake, and Supreme Peanut Butter Pie, which is a bestseller.
Like many restaurants during the pandemic, Fat Albert’s has revamped its operations to provide take-out family meals and alcohol.
“It was such a mess. The day they shut us down was St. Patrick’s Day and I had three kegs of green beer,” Albert said. “While everyone thought the world was changing, they all somehow adapted. Many people reacted very well to the changes.
In business for so many years, Albert has employees who are children of former employees as well as a strong team of long-time employees.
Maddie Price, 24, has worked at Fat Albert for two years.
“Sue is a great person, so it’s not hard to believe she’s been here this long,” Price said. “Some of my favorite things about working here are Sue and all of my colleagues and the people who come in and are excited to try the pies and everything we have to offer.”
The restaurant celebrates its anniversary every year on St. Patrick’s Day with corn and cabbage beef dinners, green beer, and personalized birthday shirts.
This year, the festivities will begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 10 and will continue until Saturday, March 12.
For more information, visit www.fat-alberts.com.