The humble french fry has come a long way. There once was a time when ketchup was the only accepted accompaniment, then we learned to pile on chili and cheese. But fries are having a moment in the culinary sun now, with many restaurants finding interesting and creative ways to turn mere fried potatoes into things of beauty. Here’s our list of the most interesting fries in Memphis.
The Original Andouille + Crawfish + Pimento Cheese Fries
2144 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 590-2829
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Chef Kelly English’s Second Line may win the award for the most decadent fries in town. It’s hard to visit the place and resist the temptation to order enough to share for the table. Kelly covers crispy, medium-thick fries in pimento cheese, which is then studded with andouille sausage and crawfish. The result is a cheesy, spicy, Cajun pile of deliciousness.
2519 Broad Ave., Memphis, TN 38112 • (901) 410-8131
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The menu at Bounty changes with the seasons, but the pommes frites seem to be a fixture, thankfully. Don’t let the simple name fool you, though. Thin and crispy fries are layered with chevre (goat cheese), cheddar and country ham, then doused in a delicious scallion cream. Our advice is to order generously, as the family-style dining arrangement at Bounty can lead to fights over who gets more of the frites!
Sweet Potato Fries at Porcellino’s
711 W. Brookhaven Circle, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 762-6656
Hours: Coffee Shop: Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to close; Dinner: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to close
You’ll find these fries humbly tucked away on the side dish portion of the menu, but do not skip past them on your way to the dessert menu. These are unquestionably the most visual of the fry selections on our list. Purple sweet potato fries are covered in poblano fonduta (a cheese and chile sauce) and scattered with charred Vidalia onions. A truly unique take.
Kimchi French Fries at The Bar at Acre
690 South Perkins, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 818-2273
Hours: Lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Fries go international at Acre. The bar menu features a local favorite, crispy fries layered with Korean style bulgogi beef, spicy Sriracha, caramelized onions, Cantal cheese and sesame seeds. These are the most complex fries on the list, packed with unique Asian flavor.
Beer-Battered Eggplant Fries at Ciao Bella
565 Erin Drive, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 205-2500
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
And now, for something completely different: Ciao Bella offers up a unique take on fries using medium-cut strips of eggplant instead of potatoes. The eggplant is dipped in a flavorful beer batter, fried, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara for dipping. It’s like eggplant Parmesan in finger food form.
Poutine at Hog and Hominy
707 W. Brookhaven Circle, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 207-7396
Hours: Lunch Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Our Canadian neighbors are to thank for poutine, a dish of fries, gravy and cheese curds — a concoction that a British friend, when presented with the dish in Toronto, disappointedly noted, “Poutine is just a posh name for cheesy chips!” Despite the truth of that statement, Hog & Hominy is to thank for this refined and rich version of the Canadian staple. The fries are covered in decadent neckbone gravy with the restaurant’s signature Italian flair, with caputo cheese curds and a little dash of chili oil to make things interesting.
Carne Asada Fries at Elena’s Taco Shop
6105 Summer Ave., Memphis, TN 38134 • (901) 417-7915
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
I finally made it out to Elena’s after so many friends told me I had to try the shrimp tacos. But when I saw an order of carne asada fries being delivered to another diner, it was more than I could resist. Crispy fries are covered in well-seasoned beef carne asada with avocado, pico de gallo, shredded cheese and a healthy dose of sour cream. Definitely worth the drive.
Wherever you choose to dine out, relish the fact that Memphis is doing an amazing job at preparing this staple side dish with unmatched flavor and style. Enjoy your fries, guys!
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