America's 50 Best French Fries
April 3, 2015
These fries are the best — crispy, golden-brown, and addictively delicious
49) Poe's Tavern (Sullivan's Island, S.C.; Atlantic Beach, Fla.)
Both locations of this restaurant serve classic casual dishes that are best accompanied by French fries: gourmet burgers, chicken sliders, fish tacos, and seafood sandwiches. However, their hand cut fries are good enough to stand on their own. If you’re near the South Carolina outpost, be sure to pop in and try them with Poe’s Original Fry Sauce, which is primarily a mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise, and vinegar.
48) The Blind Tiger Pub (Charleston, S.C.)
A step inside The Blind Tiger Pub may reveal a typical dive restaurant, but if you’re lucky enough to get a table in the backyard patio, you’ll get to enjoy a much more pleasant garden atmosphere. The fries here are thick-cut, crispy, and golden-brown; are offered as an accompanying side to the many burgers and sandwiches; and are also an option on the sides menu.
46) db Bistro Moderne (New York City)
Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne serves skinny, shoestring-style fries. They are well salted and piled high in a silver cone, and are accompanied by a trio of sauces: mayonnaise with horseradish, spicy Dijon mustard, and ketchup.
45) Anchor Bar (Superior, Wis.)
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives featured this Wisconsin eatery, which only serves burgers and fries. That’s it. No chicken, no fish, no problems. Their fries are straightforwardly awesome, and are described on their website as “Fresh potatoes just minutes ago,” which we’re pretty sure is the best description in the history of French fries.
43) Tasty Burger (Boston)
Obviously, the location of the “Official Burger of the Red Sox” is going to offer up some tasty fries. Described as “thin crispy fries,” they are shockingly addictive: the more you have, the more you’ll want. There is a location right next to Fenway Park where you can get your beer, burger, and fry fix before or after the game.
42) Love Shack (Fort Worth, Texas)
Celebrity chef Tim Love owns this Fort Worth burger spot. The Top Chef Masters contestant has raised the bar for fries, cranking out flat crispy ones with the very best accompaniments: music and beer. Customers love the flat shape of the fries because they are crispy without being dry, and serve as great vehicles for any condiment they may desire.
40) Au Cheval (Chicago)
39) Mustards Grill (Napa, Calif.)
While some diners have claimed that their entrées missed the mark, the same folks couldn’t stop raving about how good the French fries at Mustards Grill are. They’re not too crispy, but not limp; impeccably salted; and served at the right eatable temperature with a watercress sauce.
38) Bernie's Burger Bus (Houston)
Bernie’s Burger Bus serves their gourmet burgers and fries from a restaurant location as well as their Burger Bus. Both venues create hand-cut fries with house-made ketchup. The portions are what grab a lot of people’s attention here, as one serving can serve a family of three or four — or one very hungry fry-lover.
37) Pike Street Fish Fry (Seattle)
Pike Street Fish Fry is like a cross between a Pacific surf shack and an authentic British fish and chips shop. The French fries are extra-crispy and medium-cut, and the golden-brown hue is so pronounced that it rivals the color of the expertly fried fish they’re often paired with. Plus, every Friday is free fry night.
35) Melt Bar and Grilled (Cleveland)
Melt Bar and Grilled specializes in two things — grilled cheese and fries — and they do them both so well. They serve plain, hand-cut fries that are described as well-seasoned by regulars and are served hot, crunchy, and just salty enough.
34) Hut's Hamburgers (Austin, Texas)
Opened in 1939, Hut’s was originally a burger drive-in. This Austin institution is known for its great location, daily specials, and deliciously uncomplicated fare. Their fries are served as a side and simply salted. Cheese fries and chili cheese fries are also available, and one Yelper described Hut’s as a “great place to go on your cheat day!”
33) Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (Miami)
The title of owner Michael Schwartz’s cookbook, Michael’s Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, is a pretty great description of the food he serves at his restaurant. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink sticks to this comfort food theme with homemade fries, and we’re very glad about that, as they are thin, crisp, and nicely golden.
32) The Hungry Cat (Los Angeles)
This is ostensibly a seafood restaurant, but hiding on the menu are an outstanding burger and even better fries. Kennebec potatoes are soaked overnight and twice-fried, then tossed with salt and chopped parsley. Full of flavor and super-crispy, you’ll devour the whole serving without even realizing it.
31) White Manna (Hackensack, N.J.)
This Hackensack, New Jersey, diner, featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, satisfies diners’ munchies with their fresh fries, served with or without cheese. Their quirky ordering process requires you to order your burgers first from the cook, while fries and drinks are ordered separately at the counter.
30) Wild Willy's (York, Maine)
Wild Willy’s "country fair" fries are lightly salted hand-cut Maine potatoes fried in vegetable oil with the skins left on. You can add chili, cheese, or jalapeños, or any combination of the three, but we think they’re good enough to enjoy all by themselves.
29) Edzo’s Burger Shop (Evanston, Ill.)
Eddie Lakin, the owner of Edzo’s, has had a long, notable career in the fine dining world of Chicago, but Edzo’s is his first and only solo space. Never mind the fact that college students like those of Evanston’s Northwestern University happen to be the perfect consumers for a burger-and-fries place, the offerings at Edzo’s are truly outstanding. The fries here are cut thin and fried until extra crispy.
28) Mr. Bartley's Burgers (Cambridge, Mass.)
Mr. Bartley’s serves huge portions of golden crispy fries alongside their hilariously named burgers (“The Viagra,” which includes blue cheese dressing!). This is a must-visit for those in Cambridge.
26) The Grey Lodge Public House (Philadelphia)
This Northeast Philly beer bar makes all of its food from scratch, on-premises (except the chicken fingers: “We examined numerous chickens, but we couldn't find fingers on any of them,” the website explains), and their French fries are fresh-cut by hand every morning and fried in canola oil. Rated Philly’s best by Philadelphia Magazine, the fries are available “red and yellow” (a combination of sweet potato and russet) or tossed with Cajun spice or truffle salt, but the care put into slicing and frying these bad boys does away with the need for any accompaniment, even ketchup.
25) Absinthe Brasserie and Bar (San Francisco)
24) Thrasher’s French Fries (Ocean City, Md.)
In a city known for its beachside fries, the ones at Thrasher’s stand head and shoulders above the rest. If you’re visiting Ocean City in the height of the season, expect to wait quite a while for your fries, and don’t be concerned when you notice a sign telling you that they don’t serve ketchup (just go with it — the apple cider vinegar they offer instead will work wonders). Order up a bucket of freshly fried potatoes, sprinkle with salt and vinegar, and then chow down while you make your way down the boardwalk.
23) The Grind (Phoenix)
The Grind is known for their signature coal-fired ovens and all the delicious food that comes out of them. Their fries, while not cooked in these super cool ovens, are also unique. The Grind serves delicious herbed fries, accented with basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. We can see why these are a perennial favorite for locals, who recommend getting a half order of herbed and half of sweet potato and eating them together.
22) Peter Luger (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Peter Luger is a New York institution. Their classically simple menu includes aged steaks, creamed spinach, German potatoes, and, of course, French fries. Jody Storch, proprietor, explains that the fries are cooked in steak fat, served piping hot, and salted generously. Storch says this preparation “gives it an extra kick.”
21) Ishkabibble’s (Philadelphia)
Solidly basic in a good way, the fries at Ishkabibble’s serve as the ideal backdrop to the restaurant’s famous cheesesteaks. The place is also well-known for fries topped with every cheese imaginable, just in case you decide to get crazy.
19) Al’s French Fry (Burlington, Vt.)
If you live in Burlington, Vermont, you’ve heard of Al’s French Frys. The sprawling burger joint, located just south of downtown, started as a French fry stand run by Al and Genevieve Rusterholz in the late 1940s, and over the years it just kept growing. The latest incarnation still has a distinctly 1950s vibe, and a menu that appears to not have changed (in both offerings and price) in years. Burgers are still just $1.60, and fries (or frys) cost even less than that. The potatoes are scrubbed and hand-cut on a daily basis and double-fried — and the result is the Platonic ideal of the French fry. They’re crispy on the outside, the inside is pillowy soft, and no ketchup is necessary — but if you choose to pour some nacho cheese and chili on top, you certainly won’t regret it.
18) Burger Bar (Las Vegas)
Hubert Keller’s Vegas Burger Bar serves two different cuts of plain fries — skinny and fat — and both are a huge hit with fry connoisseurs. They carry just the right amount of grease (in the way that all fries should). The crispy skinny fries, in particular, earn rave reviews.
17) The Apple Pan (Los Angeles)
This lively little diner has been serving up classic fare like burgers, fries, and pie since 1947. Their heaping portions of fries are prepared fat-cut and served extra hot, and if you want ketchup, it is served on a separate plate. Classically plain with salt, they’re crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and a great accompaniment to your meal or delicious all by themselves.
16) Burger Joint (New York City)
15) The Original Hot Dog Shop (Pittsburgh)
If your vision of the perfect order of fries involves a giant mound of them spilling out of the sides of a paper boat, surrounded by cups of gravy, cheese sauce, and ketchup, all served on a cafeteria-style tray, than The Original Hot Dog Shop, located on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus, is for you. These would still get fry-lovers’ mouths watering even if they were pre-made and frozen, but the fact that these fries are hand-cut fresh daily and twice fried in peanut oil really puts them over the top.
14) Santa Fe Bite (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Santa Fe Bite combines the best of Tex-Mex with burgers and fries. Their wedge fries are stellar, and if you’re feeling adventurous, ask for the green chile cheese fries. They’re a secret menu item that locals rave about.
13) Hubcap Grill (Houston)
Fresh-cut fries: check. Crispy on the outside: check. Soft on the inside: CHECK. Hubcap Grill’s specialty burgers and fries have been raved about by customers online and by the press (think Travel and Leisure Magazine, Zagat, and Lonely Planet). They have cheese fries and chili cheese fries, too, but the classics are always the best.
12) P.J. Clarke's (New York City)
One of the oldest joints on our list, P.J. Clarke’s opened in 1887 and has been delighting diners ever since. This celebrity haunt (the “owner” of table No. 20 was Frank Sinatra, and his picture still hangs there) serves shoestring-style, fresh-cut French fries that are cooked to golden perfection and simply seasoned with salt.
11) Pie ‘n Burger (Pasadena, Calif.)
Pasadena’s Pie ‘n Burger cranks out thick-cut fries like nobody’s business. Their huge portions take up at least half the plate when they’re paired with a burger, which is the ideal ratio as far as we’re concerned. They are classically basic, seasoned with salt, and hit the spot every time. Well done, guys.
10) The Varsity (Atlanta)
The Varsity has eight locations in and around Atlanta, and the one downtown serves an average of 2,500 pounds of fries daily. Their potatoes are grown just for them by Eagle Eye Produce in Idaho, cut fresh every morning, and soaked for a short time in water before being fried in rice bran oil and lightly salted. As one reviewer on Foursquare puts it, they are the go-to place in A-Town for crispy golden straw of potato-y goodness.
9) Minetta Tavern (New York City)
The folks at New York’s Minetta Tavern don’t mess around when it comes to French fries (or really, for that matter, anything else). These deceptively simple spuds are put through quite a regimen: first they’re cut the day before and soaked in water overnight to extract a good deal of starch, which in turn decreases the likelihood that they’ll become glued together in the cooking process. Next, the raw fries are dried and blanched in peanut oil over low heat until they’re fully cooked but not yet golden brown. After resting, right before they leave the kitchen, they’re fried for just a few moments in screaming hot oil to achieve that lovely and familiar golden hue before being generously salted and served to a lucky guest.
8) Kuma’s Corner (Chicago)
Kuma’s Corner has already brought culinary prestige to the Windy City, as their namesake burger topped our list of the 101 Best in America in 2014. Now, since they’ve placed in the top 10 on this list of our country’s best fries, they’ve won even more of our respect. Word on the street (let’s be real, we mean the Internet) is that they’re dressed with a fair amount of salt — all the better to pair with one of their 16 specialty burgers. Or, better yet: order the Kuma burger with a side of fries and enjoy the best combo platter in the whole U. S. of A.
7) Village Whiskey (Philadelphia)
We have three words for you: duck fat fries. That’s right, at Village Whiskey in Philly, that’s the only kind they serve, and they’re available on all three of their menus: All Day, Late Night, and Brunch. For an extra $2, you can get them topped with Sly Fox Cheddar sauce, and for an extra $7 you can add not only Cheddar but also short rib. We suggest you start with the ordinary version first, though, as you’ll most likely find there’s very little that’s ordinary about them.
6) Blue Duck Tavern (Washington, D.C.)
These are about the thickest fries you’re likely to ever see, but they’re no gimmick. Blue Duck’s hand-cut signature BDT Triple Fries are first boiled, then fried in oil, then finally fried one more time in duck fat before being tossed with salt and herbs and served upright in a measuring cup. A great fry lets the potato shine, and these do just that.
5) Balthazar (New York City)
A restaurant that maintains its status as a place to see and be seen despite having been around for nearly 20 years, Balthazar is known for serving French bistro classics. One of the signature items, on a menu filled with quite a few, is the pommes frites. The constant line of people waiting to score a table may appear to be due to the chic clientele, but really it’s all about the fries.
4) Chickie’s and Pete’s (Philadelphia)
In Philly, the Crabfries® are nothing short of legendary. Notice the capitalization and the trademark symbol? That’s how legendary they are. Sold at the various Chickie’s and Pete’s locations as well as out of a food truck, at the airport, and at just about every major sporting venue, these crinkle-cut fries are thinner than your standard Nathan’s-style crinkle-cuts, super-crispy, and dusted with a magical spice mixture that’s the icing on the cake.
3) Father’s Office (Los Angeles)
There are a couple of fry options on the menu at Father’s Office, but the classic matchstick fries are the way to go. One of the cardinal rules at Father’s Office is that ketchup is not an option. Instead, their fries are accompanied by a small pot of homemade garlic aïoli for dipping.
2) Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle)
With six locations, Dick’s is a Seattle institution. Since 1954, they’ve served fries that are made with, as their website explains, “Real potatoes… That's what makes our fries irresistible!... Cut fresh daily by hand.” Diners can feel good about patronizing this family-owned business: They treat their employees like family, offering full benefits, scholarships, childcare assistance, paid community service, and a starting hourly wage of $10.
1) The Breslin Bar & Dining Room (New York City)
This funky gastropub from chef April Bloomfield and restaurateur Ken Friedman has perfected the classic British-style chip, and in the process has also perfected the French fry. The fries here, identified on the menu as “thrice-cooked chips,” are fried, well, three times, resulting not in an overcooked fry but one that has about twice the “crust” of other fries, encasing a perfectly cooked, creamy potato center. Thick-cut and addictive, they pair well with the cumin mayo that they’re served alongside, but they’re good enough to eat on their own. These fries are unlike any others: while still maintaining their basic DNA, they don’t need duck fat or truffles to stand out, keep the potato at the center of the action, and are the best in America for the second year running.