Brother and sister continue deli expansion

Courtesy photo Fat Boy’s Deli & Spirits owners Andre Alfares and Bridgitte Brikho-Alfares

If ordering sandwiches like Hot Momma, Hot Papa, The “C,” or the Fat Bastard, you are at Fat Boy’s Deli & Spirits.

This deli experience for an East County brother and sister began in North Park in 2009 when Andre Alfares and Bridgitte Brikho-Alfares decided to follow their parent’s footsteps, who owned a deli in La Mesa where the two worked together as young children. They created a brand there, but on April 1, they came back home to East County, opening their second location in unincorporated El Cajon, off Old Highway 8.

“We acquired the Lakeside location off Old Highway 8 in 2019,” said Alfares. “We were supposed to open the deli in March 2020, but then COVID happened, so all permitting came to a halt. We were not able to get our permits until this last March, so we opened the deli on April 1.”

Fat Boy’s is more than a deli, it also sells beer, wine, snacks, craft sodas. The deli serves its sandwiches, soups, salads, and hotdogs. The deli is also full-service, selling its meats and cheeses by the pound.

“My brother and I grew up in this business,” said Alfares. “Our parents had a deli in La Mesa in the early 90s.We got many of our sandwiches from their menu, like our club, Italian sub. It is nostalgic for us, and it is close to home. In the deli, we serve all Boars Head products, so all our meats and cheeses are Boars Head, our hotdogs are Boars Head. We pride ourselves in having the highest quality meat to serve to our customers.”

Alfares said Fat Boy’s tries to cater to different customers with gluten free options.

“We make any of our sandwiches into a salad, or a wrap, or a spiced bread or a roll,” she said. “We try to offer many options. It is definitely not fast food. It is made to order. We make it with love, and it takes time. Our philosophy is if we wouldn’t eat it, we wouldn’t serve it.”

Asking about the colorful names for their sandwiches, Alfares said it is more of an inside joke.

“Our store is called Fat Boy’s, so we were thinking that since Fat Bastard was our biggest sandwich it needed a name with a little bit of umph to it. Fat Boy-Fat Bastard,” she said. “My brother came up with the deli’s name. He has always had a passion for food and cooking since he was young. It was a personal touch for him because if you have ever seen my brother, he is not skinny. We like to eat, so it kind of matches.”

Fat Boy’s is family owned and operated with a few exceptions. Even though their parents are retired, their father still helps by working as a cashier.

“Many of our family members have worked in the deli,” Alfares said. “We have employees that have worked for us for 10 years that we consider family. Between the two locations we have around 30 to 40 employees at any given time.”

Growing up in East County, Alfares said coming back with Fat Boy’s is like coming full circle.

“This is home to us,” she said. “My brother’s father-in-law and his brother used to own Los Coches Liquor and Food Farm, which is where we are located. They wanted to retire. But they wanted to put it in someone’s hands that they knew would take care of it, make it grow, and advance the business. My brother, myself, and my husband acquired both, so we now own both. For us, it feels like home. We started in North Park, grew our brand there, and now we get to bring it home.”

Alfares said she posted a picture of the Fat Bastard, and now everyone is coming in to order it. She said it is the largest sandwich on the menu, with a half bound of meat, four slices of cheese, bacon, avocado, and a choice of bread, sauces and veggies.

“Personally, my favorite sandwiches are The “C,” which is pastrami, Swiss and avocado,” she said. “It is a hot pastrami sandwich. We also have a Reuben which can be made with pastrami or corned beef. The Jerk is popular with Jerk turkey, chipotle, gouda, avocado and chipotle mayo. Another is our Chicken Egg Crunch. Something that we are know for is that we put chips in our sandwiches. We have a sandwich that comes with hot Cheetos, The Hot Poppa, and one that comes with Ranch Doritos, the Chicken Ranch Crunch, and a Classic American that comes with Lays potato chips.”

Buying the market next door, Food Farm Market is a separate business run by Alfares’ husband Fadi Alfares and his business partner Yousif Yousif.

“We have a butcher shop in there, so we sell carne asada, we brought in some wagyu options, so we sell wagyu steaks, wagyu carne asada,” she said. “Wagyu is a high quality Japanese style of beef. It has a nice marbling on it, so it is a more flavorful than regular beef. We also sell ground beef, ribeye, tomahawk steaks, T-bone and different types of meats. We sell all the fixings, groceries, beer and wine. It is not an all-encompassing grocery store, but more like a mini specialty store.”

Fat Boy’s Deli & Spirits and Food Farm Market is located at 13305 Hwy 8 Business, El Cajon.