Our Fave “French Fries”

What would a Chicago-style hot dog or a gyro or a burger be without a side of fries? Just meat on bread, that’s what. This week we asked ourselves what our favorite french fries in Chicago were. And we answered ourselves.

Lauren says:

Easy, Riverview Tavern on Roscoe and Damen. Their fries are a meal. They come out in a giant basket and are falling over the edges. Not only are they fresh and potato-ey (which is saying a lot, most french fries completely lose their potato taste) but they also use a super yummy blend of spices on them. I am a big believer in the fact that Ranch dressing makes everything better, so I always order mine with a side of Ranch. The combination of Ranch and the seasonings on the fries make them taste EXACTLY like sour cream and cheddar Ruffles. Which is a great thing in my book.

Nikkos says:

While I know the humble french fry (or “freedom fry” for you goosesteppers out there) elicits loyalty hitherto unknown to other such humble foodstuffs, I must come clean and admit my heresy – I don’t have a favorite fry – they are all pretty much the same to me.

Although I could nominate a few contenders for the worst fry in the city – in general, I find the fries at the authentic Chicago hot dog stands to be the worst fries. Yes, they fry them up when you order as opposed to leaving them under a heat lamp a la McDonald’s, but the trade off is that they are usually rushing to fill orders so the fries you get are often undercooked. But in my experience the worst is Underdogg, whose fries set the bar for greasy, limp and half-cooked. However, the disappointment with the fries is more than compensated for by the wonderful tacos.

Fuzzy says:

I can’t pick just one! Chicago is a town full of excellent fries. I think I can narrow myself down to a best fry in three different categories of fries:

Hopleaf serves great Belgian-style frites — thin and crispy and with a side of aioli. Erica usually gets the steamed mussels (the specialty of the house) and I dip my frites in the mussel juice — yum-city.

In regular ol’ fries it’s a lot harder to pick a favorite, but I just had really good fries (and a great Chicago-style dog) at Huey’s. And for something a little more exotic, whenever I can get over to Hot Doug’s on Fridays or Saturdays (damnit – why are their hours so short) for the Duck Fat Fries. They’re so… rich. (Damn… that’s two, in just one category.)

For big, fat chips (or steak fries, as we Americans would say) my hands-down favorite is the chips with curry sauce at Harrigan’s. The chips are crispy on the outside (far too many steak fries are mushy and undercooked) and the curry is mild but full of flavor. Harrigan’s is a cozy little bar, but their food comes from the steak house two doors down and is excellent. They’ve got the best ribeye sandwich I’ve ever tasted, and the last time we were there Erica invented dipping the ribeye in the curry sauce. Wow! Taste explosion.

Fuzzy’s friend Ben says:

The best fries I’ve had in Chicago are the waffles fries cooked in canola oil at Jubilee Juice (the Jube, to those in the know). Mmmmmmmmm. The rest of the food is great, but just a little pricey for a lunch place.

Tankboy says:

Okay, this is the lamest response ever, but hands-down my favorite French Fries are the ones served at McDonalds. Awful, huh? What can I say. They’re everything a fry should be?

However since I gave up going to McDonalds months ago I guess I’ll say that my current local favorite French Fries get served up at Leona’s. At least they were good last time I was there. They keep changing their recipes though so I don’t know how true it is now.

And can I give my vote for worst fries in the city? I can! Thanks. That award goes to The Twisted Spoke. Incidentally, for the price, they pretty much just have the worst food in the city.

What’s a favorite without it’s nemesis? You need the dark to make the light brighter. Okay, I’m going to stop now…

Officer Gleason says:

My Favorite Chicago Fries are Clark Dog‘s Chili Cheeze Fries. I’m not a big fan of french fries, but there is something about those chili cheeze fries that keep calling to me…

Clark Dog
3120 N Clark

2816 N Halsted

5148 N Clark

Hot Doug’s
3324 N California

Huey’s Hotdogs
1507 W Balmoral

Jubilee Juice
140 N Halsted

10 Chicago, 6 suburban locations

125 Chicago, a bizillion suburban locations

Riverview Tavern

1958 W Roscoe

The Twisted Spoke
501 N Ogden
3365 N Clark

1570 1/2 N Damen

4 Comments so far

  1. K. (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 11:00 am

    Three words:

    Gene and Judes.

    Hands down, the best french fries in the history of mankind. Served on top of the hot dog, or in a brown paper bag, they’re made from fresh potatoes that are sliced directly into the cooking oil and covered with salt.

    2720 River Road

    River Grove, IL

    (it’s well worth the trip. Trust me on this.)

  2. Brianne (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 11:05 am

    I am a big fan of the original fave, Portillos. Their cheese fries are, well, just yum. I am a big connoisseur of processed cheese substance (I am not joking either) and Portillos serves up some great fake cheese and great fries to accompany it.

  3. paul (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 2:22 pm

    Buffalo Joe’s Spicy cheddar chips, waffle-cut, drenched in cheddar and jalapenos is a food experience not to be missed.

    I second Hopleaf and will add that quite a few of the Irish Pubs that serve food have a decent chips and gravy (as well as curry). Celtic Knot in Evanston being one of the best.

  4. Alana Waters (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2005 @ 4:46 pm

    My absolute hands-down favorite fry is produced at Hillary’s Urban Eatery [1500 West Division St]. But it’s been so long that I couldn’t give a good description of the seasonings and such. I will tell you that it’s a mix of sweet and regular potatoes. Good golly.

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