Sound Bites: ‘Fat Mike’ Burkett of NOFX

Fat Mike by Katie Hovland

Fat Mike, in deep thought about the day’s fashion choices | Photo: Katie Hovland

Welcome to Sound Bites, where we meet rock musicians at the crossroads between music and food.

Digital Dossier
Twitter Handle: @FatMike_of_NOFX
Facebook: Fat Mike Page
Official Website:

Americans enjoy a feel-good story.

Mike Burkett (a.k.a. Fat Mike) may not fit the profile — he’s tattooed with spiky dyed hair, and punk rock to the core — but his story pretty much typifies the American Dream.

A punk-rock and -business pioneer, Burkett founded the band NOFX back in 1983 (currently celebrating its 30th anniversary), co-founded popular (and highly lucrative) punk label Fat Wreck Chords in 1990, and started hilarious punk supergroup/cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes in 1995.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When he’s not knee-deep in music, he’s a major food lover — he co-owns thriving Brooklyn restaurant Thistle Hill Tavern.

CityEats had a chance to talk punk and food with His Fatness.

We’re big fans of your work here at CityEats. Any new music we should expect in 2013 from your label’s bands?
The new Old Man Markley album is super good, and Masked Intruder are gonna be loved and envied by many.

You live in San Francisco. What are the best new restaurants you’ve been to recently?
Town Hall is pretty amazing, and Foreign Cinema is a once-a-month must-go, but the longshot is a sushi place called K’s Kitchen. The sushi is amazing, but the lamb chops in reduction sauce and the poached escolar with olives and capers are what keeps me coming back weekly.

We were psyched to learn more about the gastropub Thistle Hill Tavern, which you co-own in Brooklyn. Tell us how you got into the food business.
My good friend John Bush got me super wasted and convinced me to finance a [bleeped out] restaurant in Park Slope. I had never even heard of Park Slope. I wasn’t gonna do it, but the chef made me a five-course meal that blew me away. A little over a year later we changed chefs, and Chef Dale Talde came on board. We also extended the bar—- I recommend the Howard Hughes.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home? Do you have a specialty?
My girlfriend, Soma Snakeoil, used to work at The Inn at Little Washington and is an amazing cook, so she does most of the cooking, but my vodka gazpacho is pretty [bleeped out] good.

What is your favorite food city to visit on tour?
I gotta say Tokyo. We stumbled into a place in Roppongi called Meatman. It’s my favorite place in the world. Maybe ’cause I’m usually on E when I’m there, but the chicken hearts on a stick are pretty phenomenal. Tokyo also has about 25,000 other good places. Most of them are ninja-themed!

Enjoy the complete Sound Bites series on CityEats here.

  • disturbed

    A punk wearing dead animals…cool..

    • fred

      I hear ya man. No one’s ever seen a punk rocker sportin a leather jacket right? right?

  • Seth

    Dead animals? Oh, cuz you think thats real tiger skin. Wow.

  • Ryan Smyth

    disturbed that was a tad retarded, why don’t you go home and put a crass album on or something…