Fat Chance Sandwich Shop in Brooklyn Park provides work to chronically homeless men and women

Get big ol' BBQ sandwiches at the new Fat Chance in Brooklyn Park.

Get big ol' BBQ sandwiches at the new Fat Chance in Brooklyn Park. Photo courtesy of Fat Chance Facebook Page

There’s nothing quite like a high school reunion to frighten you into chasing your dreams.

“We were sitting in the car after the reunion and we decided we had to take that leap,” says Renay Dossman, who owns the newly minted Fat Chance sandwich shop in Brooklyn Park with her husband Ben.

The couple lives in Brooklyn Park, and they said they were tired of going “everywhere else” to get good food. So were the many students at the nearby North Hennepin Community College, now located right across the street from Fat Chance. So the Dossmans decided to fill that void -- great sandwiches at a fair price.

But take a look at their menu and you’ll notice that these ain’t any old sandwiches. This is a BBQ and soul food spot too, where they’re smoking their own meat for pulled pork and ribs, and soul food Saturdays means just that: real-deal soul cooking thanks to one of their chefs who comes to the Twin Cities by way of Arkansas. Check them out every week for a rotating menu of fried chicken, rib tips, collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread, and more.

This isn’t the Dossman’s first business. The couple is also responsible for a nonprofit organization called Affirmation House, which provides housing for chronically homeless men. They started that organization pretty much the same way: by identifying a need.

The couple had some rental property and they kept getting applicants who were having a hard time renting elsewhere because of a lack of rental history. Now, they provide housing at six sites, and three of their employees at the restaurant are men they’ve met through Affirmation House. They also provide housing for women who have recently exited the prison system. There currently are about 80 people in the Affirmation House program. 

The Dossmans hope that they can help the individuals in the program find work if they need it. 

But Renay is careful about their work in nonprofit and branding it too closely with the restaurant, which she says is not the point. While the duo is very interested in spreading the message about housing and eating as two very important basic necessities, the real point of Fat Chance is this one: “really good food at a really good value.” 

"This is a place for everybody." 

Now open
8419 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis