Fries have long been a starchy staple in many cultures. The French typically serve ‘frites’ with mustard, Americans with ketchup, the Brits with vinegar, Belgians with mayo and the Japanese with green curry. There are various theories and arguments around the true origins of the french fry. Namely, the debate is between Belgium and France, though neither are willing to secede to the other for the claims-to-fame sparked by these tasty fried spuds. And why would they?
Whether you’re stumbling around downtown after one too many beers, soaking up a hangover, enjoying a mid-week burger, or simply craving that crunchy, salty, fried russet just because, this famous fried snack is arguably one of the most craveworthy junk foods. It’s no wonder the French and Belgians refuse to give up their titles as the original creator of the french fry.
In honor of National French Fry Day, we’ve made it easy for you to locate those little, crispy potato gems with a list of seven fries that are not to be overlooked.
Best Gravy Fries: Steuben’s
Where: 523 E 17th Ave, Denver
Steuben’s is no stranger to serving up some delicious comfort food classics. Their gravy cheese fries are no exception to that. This dish keeps things simple with a rich, and creamy house-made brown gravy and a healthy dose of melty mozzarella over crispy fries.
Best Sweet Potato Fries: Will Call
Where: 3043 Brighton Blvd, Denver
You can’t tour the world of french fry bests without exploring the white russett’s sweeter sibling—the sweet potato. Will Call serves their housemade sweet potato fries thick, sweet and crispy. A tangy, house-made balsamic reduction gives each fry a sugary shell that’s complemented with a thoughtful sprinkle of sea salt.
Best Poutine: Euclid Hall
Where: 1317 14th St, Denver
Made of cheese curds and a light brown gravy, poutine is a well-known Canadian favorite. Euclid Hall gives a new and welcomed light to the classic with their duck themed interpretation: the Fowl Play Poutine. Juicy pieces of shredded duck confit and salty cheddar cheese curds lay atop a pile of thin crisped fries smothered in a rich peppered duck gravy and garnished with a runny, sunny side-up chicken egg and an ounce of delicately grilled foie gras.
Best “Fat” Fried Fries: TAG Burger Bar
Where: 1222 Madison St, Denver; 3759 Lipan St, Denver
Going with the “duck” fry theme, TAG Burger Bar—with locations in Congress Park and the Sunnsyide—offers an almost sinful Duck Fat Fry, generously seasoned with kosher salt, black pepper, a pinch of sugar, paprika and cayenne pepper then fried in a rich duck fat. These fries eat more like a sweet and salty treat than your standard savory burger joint fried spuds.
Best House-Made Sauces: West End Tap House
Where: 3945 Tennyson St, Denver
West End Tap House on Tennyson has the right idea with their housemade Belgian fries and 10 sauce choices. The fries are cut thin and cooked to a crisp perfection. We recommend pairing them with the sweet and spiced curry catsup and a manager’s recommendation of a creamy and tangy sriracha-lime dipping sauce. Other sauce offerings include a spicy maple aioli, Parmesan peppercorn sauce, horseradish aioli, roasted garlic aioli, basil ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard and an Asian BBQ sauce.
Best Sandwich-Inspired Fries: The District
Where: 1320 E 17th Ave, Denver
If you love a good reuben, lose the sandwich bread and replace it with french fries. Seems pretty genius, huh? That’s exactly what The District in North Capitol Hill did with their savory, sweet Reuben Fries. A layer of crunchy hand-cut fries is topped with tangy sauerkraut, chewy thin-sliced corned beef, melty swiss cheese, caraway seeds like a traditional rye bread, and drizzled with a healthy dose of Russian dressing. We make no promises that you won’t lick the plate clean.
Best Chili Cheese Fries: The Original Chubby’s
Where: 1231 W 38th Ave, Denver
Tucked in the Sunnyside neighborhood, this hole-in-the-wall, authentic Mexican to-go joint definitely offers character to our lineup of french fry must-tries. The lines will forever be long, but the wait is always worth it. Their smothered green chili cheese fries come drowning in a thick and creamy chili and cheese sauce. Each bite of this local favorite is better than the last, with a not-so-subtle, but addictive heat from the diced green chilis, all served on a thick paper plate.
All photography by Lucy Beaugard.