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Want to try rattlesnake or alligator? They’ll be available in sausage form at Fat Shorty’s, a casual sausage, mussel, and beer spot replacing Rabbit Grill in Clarendon.

Restaurateur Aaron Gordon, who owns eateries like Drafting Table and Zeke’s DC Donutz, is partnering with Rahman “Rock” Harper of Hell’s Kitchen fame on Fat Shorty’s (an homage to Gordon’s childhood nickname).

The restaurant, outfitted with wooden picnic tables and antique meat grinders, will serve about 20 types of sausages plus fries and mussels. Not all the meat options are as daring as rattlesnake; there are also flavors like chicken apple, hot italian, vegan Italian, chorizo, andouille, and the traditional bratwurst. Sausage sandwiches come with a choice of two toppings (grilled onion, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and sauerkraut). You can also get sausage platters with German potato salad or baked beans. Prices range from $6.75 to $8.25.

Two varieties of mussels are available: green curry and beer sausage. To wash it all down, there are German and Belgian beers, including six on tap. For dessert, Fat Shorty’s serves Snickers pie, a popular dessert at Drafting Table.

Gordon says Rabbit wasn’t bringing in enough dinner traffic serving salads. The new concept is “embarrassingly opposite,” he says. “But I guess if people didn’t want Rabbit, you’ve got to give them sausages.” Rabbit isn’t necessarily dead. Gordon says he might rework it and bring it back to life somewhere else in the future.

And as for how Harper and Gordon teamed up? The two first met at DC Central Kitchen, where Harper is an instructor (and former kitchen operations director) in the culinary job training program. The restaurant was conceptualized and the partnership born over beers and Maker’s Mark at Drafting Table. Harper will continue to teach at DCCK and has already employed some of his students at Fat Shorty’s.

Fat Shorty’s, 3035 Clarendon Blvd., fatshortys.com

Photo by Jessica Sidman