Good French fries are so much more than a limp side dish for burgers. The best are capable of standing alone — figuratively and literally — on the plate. And the best of the best can draw you back to a restaurant over and over again. When the Yahoo Travel editors assigned me the task of creating this list, I began dreaming of deep-fried delicacies from across the country. I imagined months spent traveling and savoring the earthy aroma released by fresh cut potatoes when they first begin to brown. Count me in!
And then I fell back to Earth. They were not interested in my list of favorite fries; they wanted yours. The list was to be crowd-sourced through Yahoo Travel’s readers, as well as our favorite foodies across this great French fry-eating country.
The number of people who crave the fries of national chain burger joints (which shall remain nameless) is shocking. Those are NOT fries, people. Step outside the burger box and see what the rest of the country is eating.
Here’s the list, as curated by one very hungry writer.
Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Birmingham has way more on the plate than the fries, but there are people who swear they only go there for the fries. In my experience, any place that has “soul” in the name knows its root vegetables.
Tommy’s Burger Stop in Anchorage has people saying things like “aaaaaaahmaze-balls!!!!” Mostly they come for the burgers, but even the best burger falls short with bad fries next to it.
The Stand in Phoenix has fresh-cut no-frills fries with a secret dipping sauce. At a place with chocolate shakes that look as good as theirs do, maybe that should be the secret dipping sauce.
Sweet potato fries with spicy hickory mayo at the Root (Photo: Amanda R./Urbanspoon)
When in Little Rock, it’s sweet potato fries at The Root with hickory chip mayo. Now that’s a side dish!
The chili cheese fries come loaded with carne asada at Tops Burger in Pasadena. Gooey, beefy, sloppy goodness on a plate. And the pastrami doesn’t look bad, either.
Parmesan fries from Stuft Burger Bar (Photo: Stuft Burger Bar/Facebook)
The parmesan fries at Stuft a Burger Bar in Ft. Collins pair well with a Nitro Milk Stout (or so I’ve been told).
When you ask people about the snacks at Brennan’s Shebeen (a trio of Irish pubs located in Bridgeport, Oxford, and Fairfield) the words “curry fries” are repeated over and over like a mantra.
Johnnie’s Dog House in Wilmington doesn’t look like much, but appearance is not a prerequisite for good fries. I’ll have the Paris Dog topped with frites, s’il vous plaît.
There are tried and true simple fries and then there are the gourmet ones that will take your breath away. When in Palm Beach, put your best sundress on and stop by the Seafood Bar at The Breakers for the truffled gorgonzola version. I hear they will make you whimper with delight.
The Fry Guy food truck serves up french fries and smiles. (Photo: The Fry Guy)
The best advice for any restaurant is to throw all pretensions out the window and be you. The Fry Guy in Atlanta has done just that. Eight fries, five sauces, paper cone. The Poutine with cheddar cheese on top of gravy-topped fries gets five stars from most reviewers. Straight to your hips good.
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Lahaina verifies the rule I heard once: if the word “pie” is in the restaurant’s name, it’s a winner.
Purple fries at Boise Fry Company (Photo: Jeff B./Yelp)
Purple fries are the rave at Boise Fry Company, which treats the burgers as the side dish.
Frite Street in Chicago calls itself “A French Fry Dive.” Dear Editors, tell me again why I am not on the road researching this? They have battered chicken fried frites! I’m starving here.
Apparently duck-fat fries up the best potatoes. Top with rosemary, garlic truffle aioli, and beer cheese at Union 50 in Indianapolis and you may have the perfect food.
Garlic bacon blue cheese fries at Zombie Burger (Photo: Sean W./Yelp)
Bacon and blue cheese seem like a near-perfect topping for fries. And Zombie Burger would seem to be the perfect name for a burger joint in Des Moines.
It’s mostly about what’s between the buns at Bomber Burger in Wichita, but a burger stacked that high requires a hefty plate of fries to back it up. And these really deliver.
Any place that has more than one type of fry on the menu means that you forgo any other side dish and eat fries. The consensus at Hammerheads in Louisville seems to be the truffle fries.
Parrains in Baton Rouge has both regular and sweet potato fries. Tough choice. The crowd leans toward the sweet potato option.
Hot Suppa in Portland gets raves for its hand-cut fries that complement a menu of Southern food, way up yonder in New England.
Thrasher’s French Fries (Photo: Thrasher’s French Fries/Facebook)
Thrashers French Fries in Ocean City tops so many lists that these may just qualify as the best fries in the country since 1929.
Drink in Boston is a cocktail party pretending to be a bar. The delicacy here is served with malt vinegar aioli.
Truffle fries at Green Dot Stables in Detroit (Photo: MyThy H./Yelp)
Sure, there are truffle fries at Green Dot Stables in Detroit, but the crowds prefer the venison chili cheese fries.
Casper’s & Runyon’s Nook in Saint Paul is another Irish pub with near-perfect fries. Not to profile here, but it would seem the Irish have this potato thing figured out.
Don’t let the name fool you. Walker’s Drive In in Jackson is chef Derek Emerson’s baby. If you want truffle fries, this may be the best place on the planet to try them.
Dogs ‘n Frys in Florissant is a hot dog joint that lovingly puts extra effort into its fries. With 15 varieties on the menu, it could take a bit of time to work through the choices.
The Field House Café in Billings has house-cut fries and house ketchup that pair well with the fried chicken sandwich on a biscuit.
The Dragon Fries at Block 16 come topped with a crushed fortune cookie — fortune and all! (Photo: audreyhorny/Instagram)
Dragon fries at Block 16 in Omaha has a sauce that will have you spittin’ fire and begging for more, according to our sources. Bonus: a fortune atop this otherworldly creation.
When in Las Vegas, why not let the master make you some fries? Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in the MGM Grand serves up fries that are the stuff of legends.
Fries at a pizza joint may sound odd, but these babies put Jimmy’s House of Pizza in Manchester on everybody’s agenda.
Burger Bound in Newark has fries with parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Se know where we’re bound the next time we head to the Garden State.
There’s an eleventh commandment in New Mexico: thou shalt eat green chilis. Try the green chili cheese fries at 66 Diner in Albuquerque, so that you don’t break the commandment.
Belgian-style fries and some of the many dipping sauces at Pommes Frites (Photo: Jazz Guy/Flickr)
For authentic Belgian fries, Pommes Frites in Manhattan’s East Village is a must if you like chunky, seasoned, hand-cut fries with crazy good sauces. It’s the next best thing to a trip to Europe.
As a rule, neighborhood bars are the second most likely place to find good fries (the first being a fries-only restaurant). Jack Beagle’s in Charlotte is proof of the rule.
Wurst Bier Hall in Fargo falls under the previously mentioned neighborhood bar rule. Add in the German factor and you have a real fry winner.
Hot fudge milkshake and buttered fries at Heggy’s Nut Shop (Photo: spsolomon/Instagram)
Buttered fries are the biggest hit on the menu at Heggy’s Nut Shop in Canton.
It’s interesting how many restaurants with great fries have such humble-sounding names. Lucky’s in Tulsa is a prime example.
Holy potatoes! Potato Champion in Portland has pulled-pork fries topped with whiskey BBQ sauce. Dinner is served.
Spanish fries at Ishkabibble’s in Philly (Photo: Joey Rozier/Flickr)
Ishkabibble’s in Philadelphia has pizza fries, effectively combining the two best junk foods on the planet. The Spanish fries deliciously mix onions and hot peppers. Oh, and did we mention that this is the secret source for Philly’s best cheesesteak?
The Red Fez in Providence is a hipster dive bar that serves up fries loved by even the unhip crowd.
In a state known for astonishing food, the truffle frites at the Oak Table in Columbia is the place to get your fry fix in an elegant setting known for its steak and seafood.
Duck fat fries and a craft beer at Taphouse 41 (Photo: Emil C./Yelp)
Duck fat fries at Taphouse 41 in Sioux Falls are the creation of a Chicago transplant. The fries can only be described as “addictive.”
The Beauty Shop in Memphis is funky and fun, serving fries topped with cayenne sugar. They’re easily followed by the Nutella and banana crepes for the ultimate sugar fix.
Maple & Motor in Dallas is a small burger-and-beer joint that celebrates “low class cool.” Locals recommend the fried baloney sandwich as the side to your fries.
There is surely more than one bowling alley in the country with review-worthy fries, but Mike’s Grill at Logan’s Lanes in Logan is the one on everyone’s radar. Apparently the secret to fries in Utah is the fry sauce.
Al’s French Frys in Vermont — where else can you order fries by the quart? (Photo: eleanorlauzon/Instagram)
Al’s French Frys in South Burlington has more than fries on the menu, but Al and team really let the potatoes shine through, according to our sources.
The fries are technically an accompaniment at Woody McGee’s Barstro in Virginia Beach, but we must stress that they are not to be missed.
Pike Street Fish Fry in Seattle has the best fries in town. The secret? A chili mayo dipping sauce.
Apparently nobody can compete with Five Guys Burger in this state. Of course, it’s a pretty high standard.
Breakfast pork fries at Honeypie Café (Photo: Honeypie Cafe/Instagram)
The highly acclaimed pork fries at Honeypie Café in Milwaukee come with shredded BBQ pork and bacon. Who needs anything else?
It may not even matter how good the fries are at 2 Doors Down in Cheyenne because an order is bottomless. Eat up!