America's 10 Best French Fries

Discover Food Network Magazine's favorite french fries from across the country. 

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Grand Rapids HopCat, Crack Fries

HopCat's founders settled on the final recipe for their crack fries (named for how addictive they are) while sitting around a table drinking beer — which could explain why the fries are battered in light beer before they're sprinkled with black pepper seasoning. Some people order extra toppings, like cheese sauce, jalapenos and onion, and almost everyone orders a cold one on the side. The owner's favorite: an IPA called Huma Lupa Licious by Michigan-based Short's Brewing Company.

Multiple locations; hopcat.com

 

Photographs by Levi Brown

Chicago Susie's Drive Thru, Cheese Fries

Susie's has been serving french fries in crunchy flour tortilla shells for 40 years. You'll be lucky to nab a seat (the place has just three stools inside and a few picnic tables outside), so plan to grab and go. Owner Kathy Ninos says plenty of people finish the cheese-smothered fries before even leaving the parking lot.

4126 West Montrose Ave.; 773-283-6544

Cincinnati Habits Café, Sweet Potato Fries

At Habits Café you have your choice of fries: plain, Texas, Cajun ... but you'd be wise to choose sweet potato, in part because of the side of spiced apple butter. Owner Mark Rogers tested all sorts of cuts on the fries before going with crinkle style: The grooves help hold the sauce.

3036 Madison Rd.; habitscafe.com

Philadelphia The Continental, Szechuan Shoestring Fries

You can't ignore the french fries at The Continental: They're served in 10-inch-tall heaps and they end up on just about every table. "If people haven't heard about the fries, they order them when they see them come out of the kitchen," says Executive Chef Jamie Wolf. The lacy fries, which come drizzled with a spicy mustard sauce, were originally just on the dinner menu, but they've become so popular that they're now sold at lunch too.

138 Market St.; continentalmartinibar.com

West Mifflin, Penn. The Potato Patch, Kennywood Park, Bacon and Cheddar Fries

The longest lines at Kennywood Park aren't for roller coasters or arcade games; they're for french fries. The Potato Patch sells about half a million servings every summer, and visitors sometimes wait more than an hour for a carton of freshly cut fries topped with melted cheddar and chopped bacon. If you don't have the time, you can hit up a local market instead: Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle sells them frozen.

4800 Kennywood Blvd.; kennywood.com

Denver Steuben's, Gravy Cheese Fries

Purists like Steuben's fries just as they come, covered in brown gravy and melted mozzarella, but chefs here will top them with anything you want, like green chiles, fried eggs or bacon. It's never too early to put in your order: "Sometimes we get the first one at 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning," says Executive Chef Brandon Biederman. "You can kind of guess what they did the night before."

523 East 17th Ave.; steubens.com

Austin Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Hyde Park Fries

Bick Brown is fanatical about french fries, and when he opened Hyde Park Bar & Grill in 1982, he wanted the place to be famous for them. His are soaked in buttermilk, then breaded and fried, and served with his special sauce: a mix of mayo, jalapenos and dill. The sauce originally came on a chicken sandwich, but customers liked it so much they started requesting extra for their fries. "Now if we don't bring it out with their order," Bick says, "people holler, 'Where's my special sauce?'"

Two locations; hpbng.com

San Francisco AT&T Park, Gilroy Garlic Fries

No one has to walk too far to buy a basket of garlic fries at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. There are 25 spots around the stadium dedicated just to the local favorite, made with garlic from nearby Gilroy (home of the legendary garlic festival). Breath mints are free for the taking at every serving window.

24 Willie Mays Plaza; sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com

Portland, Ore. 'Reel M' Inn, Jojos

If you haven't tried jojos, you should. And this is where you should taste your first one. The supersized versions of a wedge-cut fry are a local specialty in the Pacific Northwest, and 'Reel M' Inn makes some of the biggest ones around. The cooks quarter 7-inch potatoes (one order comes with all four pieces), then batter them and fry the wedges skin-on. Just beware: The wait can be long on busy nights. "We've got just one fryer," says owner Paul Meno, "and that thing goes nonstop from open to close."

2430 Southeast Division St.; 503-231-3880

 

Seattle Luc, Soufflé Potato Crisps

The process of making a puffed-up potato, called pomme soufflé, is so difficult to master, Chef Thierry Rautureau fried every batch himself for the first three months they were on the menu. The potatoes are poached in oil (they have to be stirred constantly so they don't get crisp), then deep-fried until they puff up. Rautureau has since passed the torch, but not to just anyone: A dedicated fry guy comes in to prep the potatoes every day.
2800 East Madison; thechefinthehat.com

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