We asked, you answered: Here are America's favorite french fries

Updated

When Americans turn on the television to watch the Olympics in Paris this month, we'll be rooting for our home teams — and, for we foodies at least, secretly pining after the French food they're enjoying.

Steak au poivre. Croissants. Coq au vin.

And frites. Does anybody make better fries than the French?

More: These spuds all have names. Your guide to french fry types

Well, yes. You might argue that the Belgians do, since they invented french fries, which are named for their cut, not the country. Or you might argue that the Dutch do, since they perfected the art of the dipping sauce.

But we would argue that Americans makes the best fries. To prove our point, we turned to the USA TODAY Network's food team — our experts at more than 100 local newspapers and websites across the country.

Every food writer has a favorite. But, with the Olympics right around the corner, and National French Fry Day on July 12, we thought it was democracy's time to shine.

We got out the vote.

More: Is European fast food better? We ranked fast food french fries — in France

In a poll on local web sites, our USA TODAY Network food writers asked readers to choose their favorite local french fry. The winners of each local site were announced July 8 — and we've rounded up many of them here.

We present to you: America’s Favorite Fries.

Pass the ketchup. Or the ranch.

Or, giving Paris one more nod, the aioli.

Thrasher’s French Fries | Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Visitors enjoy Thrasher's french fries on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Visitors enjoy Thrasher's french fries on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Details: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, locations: 7 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-8994; 26 Rehoboth Ave., 302-227-8994; 502 N. Boardwalk, 302-227-7366; thrashersrehoboth.com. There are also Ocean City, Maryland, locations.

Traditions reign supreme at Thrasher's French Fries, where there is no deviation from the original procedures or recipes developed 95 years ago. The flavor of these piping hot, fresh-cut Idaho potatoes fried in peanut oil is somehow enhanced when accompanied by the soundtrack of the crashing surf and squawking seagulls. The boardwalk fries are famously seasoned with only salt and apple cider vinegar. That's it. This is a condiment-free zone by choice. No ketchup. Not ever. Seriously. Just read the signs at all locations that say "We Serve No Ketchup." Dean Shuttleworth, a partner of the Thrasher's franchise in Rehoboth that's been operating since the early 1980s, said ketchup is not served because the Delaware french fries business honors the wishes of the company's founders. Patricia Talorico, The News-Journal

Read more on Thrasher's French Fries.

Central Cafe | Bradenton, Florida

The hand-cut french fries at Central Cafe in Bradenton are paired with a pint of Beach Blonde Ale by 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The hand-cut french fries at Central Cafe in Bradenton are paired with a pint of Beach Blonde Ale by 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Details: 906 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton, Florida; 941-757-0050, centralcafe941.comA charming restaurant located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Central Cafe occupies a first-floor space in a handsome brick building in a former historic hotel near the popular Bradenton Riverwalk. While I'm a big fan of the restaurant's burgers, pizza, and blue cheese-laced tomato soup, Central Cafe’s essential dish is the french fries. The thin, hand-cut fries are adorned with chunks of coarse salt and offered to guests as a heaping pile of decadent deliciousness. Lightly fried, smartly salted, and served warm with a soft center and just the right amount of crispiness, each fry is somehow more fabulously addictive than the last. Central Cafe's fries are perfect on their own, but I do enjoy them covered in the Heinz malt vinegar the restaurant provides while dipping the occasional fry into ketchup. Another great option is to dunk the fries into a bowl of the cafe's brilliant tomato soup. It’s a bit messy, but totally worth it! Wade Tatangelo, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Read more on Central Cafe.

More: Wine experts share their favorite Champagnes and sparkling wines to pair with French fries

Matt’s Red Hots | Fort Myers, Florida

The fries at Matt's Red Hots in Fort Myers were voted the best in Lee County by readers of The News-Press.
The fries at Matt's Red Hots in Fort Myers were voted the best in Lee County by readers of The News-Press.

Details: 18911 S. Tamiami Trail, No. 24, Fort Myers, Florida; 239-791-8036, mattsredhots.com

Matt Syroczynski has been making the french fries at his no-frills family-friendly hot dog and burger joint the same way since opening in December 2017. And that’s a very good thing. Matt’s fries were voted the best in Lee County in a recent readers’ poll. Just what makes these hand-cut, made fresh daily fries so special? Those potatoes go through a three-step process — cut, washed and soaked in water; then pre-fried and cooled; then cooked-to-order at 350 degrees Fahrenheit — before becoming the crispy, golden, glorious fries customers crave. “It makes them stay crispy for a bit longer,” said Syroczynski, a former professional hockey player who hails from Buffalo, New York. Before being served on a plastic tray in a classic diner-style, red-and-white cardboard box, the fries are quickly tossed in Morton’s coarse kosher salt. Whether you order them plain, with cheese, chili cheese or served with onion rings, you’ll be getting the best fries around. Robyn George, The News-Press

Read more on Matt's Red Hots.

Fort Clark Grill | Peoria, Illinois

An order of Fort Clark Grill's seasoned french fries at the Northwoods Mall in Peoria.
An order of Fort Clark Grill's seasoned french fries at the Northwoods Mall in Peoria.

Details: 2200 W. War Memorial Drive, Peoria, Illinois; Search Facebook for its page.

Crinkle cut french fries are speckled with a coarse, peppery spice blend at Fort Clark Grill in Peoria, Illinois. "They love it," Executive Chef Shawn Holler said of the seasoning. "It's one of a kind." Unassuming at first, the fries offer an unexpected burst of flavor and texture that — while not overpowering — avoids the potential pitfall of a bland potato. The flecks of pepper provide a lip-warming sensation without becoming unbearably hot. And while these crinkle cuts are not heavy on the crisp, a quiet crunch attests that freshly served fries won’t leave diners heartbroken over limp and soggy spuds. Cassidy Waigand, Peoria Journal Star

Read more on Fort Clark Grill.

FARMbloomington | Bloomington, Indiana

The famous garlic fries at FARMbloomington come with Parmesan, garlic, herbs, chili flakes and lemon zest.
The famous garlic fries at FARMbloomington come with Parmesan, garlic, herbs, chili flakes and lemon zest.

Details: 108 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, Indiana; 812-323-0020, farm-bloomington.com

The most popular fries at FARMbloomington are the garlic fries, according to chef-owner Daniel Orr. But patrons also enjoy the regular fries — thin-cut Idaho potatoes deep-fried and served warm, with salt, black pepper and a special chipotle ketchup only served at the downtown Bloomington restaurant just down East Kirkwood Avenue from Indiana University. The garlic fries are tossed with Parmesan, garlic, herbs, chili flakes and lemon zest, then served with turmeric aioli. They're only available at 108 E. Kirkwood Ave. "We call them our crack fries," Chef Orr said. "People rave about them." Carol Kugler, The Herald-Times

Read more on FARMBloomington.

Francie’s Bar & Grill | Des Moines, Iowa

The con queso burger at Francie's Bar & Grill comes with crinkle cut fries.
The con queso burger at Francie's Bar & Grill comes with crinkle cut fries.

Details: 2100 Wakonda View Drive, Des Moines, Iowa; 515-285-5207 or franciesbarandgrill.com.

Get to Francie’s Bar & Grill early to beat the long lines of hungry diners who congregate at the entrance. It's always been this popular. This sports bar on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa, named for original owner Francis Anania, originally opened in 1958. Grab a seat on the tiny patio on the north side of the restaurant when the weather cooperates or wait for one of the booths or high-tops in the small space. Catch the game on one of the 10 or so TVs, and sit by the small window looking into the kitchen to watch the magic happen in this space, which feels like a flashback to the ’80s. Francie’s has been known for its burgers, sandwiches, and menu of Moscow mules, but fans love the crinkle-cut fries here served with ranch dressing on the side. Susan Stapleton, The Des Moines Register

Read more on Francie's Bar & Grill.

The Knack on Cape Cod | Orleans and Hyannis, Massachusetts

Knack's french fries were chosen by readers as the best fries on the Cape. Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times
Knack's french fries were chosen by readers as the best fries on the Cape. Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times

Details: 1120 Route 132, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 774-810-7847; 5 MA-6A, Orleans, Massachusetts, 774-316-4595; theknackcapecod.com

Fries at The Knack ― 4,500 portions per week ― are cooked to order in trans-fat-free oil that is changed daily, and tossed with sea salt and cracked black pepper immediately before being served. The Haidas brothers tried 25 brands of frozen fries before landing on the one they still use today. The $5.75 fries are one of only two things not made from scratch (rolls are purchased). Even the cookies that are filled with ice cream are baked on site. And why are the fries so popular? According to Knack co-owner Van Haidas: "Good quality fries with good oil and the seasoning ― and getting them out hot and fast." Gwenn Friss, The Cape Cod Times

Read more on The Knack.

Sidelines Bar & Grill | Fairfield, New Jersey

Loaded sweet potato fries come topped with Mike's Hot Honey sauce at Sidelines Bar & Grill in Fairfield, New Jersey.
Loaded sweet potato fries come topped with Mike's Hot Honey sauce at Sidelines Bar & Grill in Fairfield, New Jersey.

Details: 198 Route 46 East, Fairfield, New Jersey; 973-521-7430, sidelinesbar46.com.

Sidelines is a woman-owned sports bar and restaurant that serves traditional pub fare from wings to sandwiches and burgers accompanied by a wide selection of beer. It’s known for its live country music — and now also for its famous fries. There are six loaded fry options on the menu, each one smothered in cheese, sauces, toppings, and seasonings. You can choose among disco fries; loaded fries; truffle fries; taco fries; Southwest fries; and sweet potato fries, which are seasoned with a Cajun spice. Amanda Wallace, The Record

Read more on Sidelines.

House of Fries | Seaside Heights and Ortley Beach, New Jersey

Boardwalk fries with garlic parmesan seasoning and classic cheese fries on the Seaside Heights boardwalk.
Boardwalk fries with garlic parmesan seasoning and classic cheese fries on the Seaside Heights boardwalk.

Details: 2 Ocean Terrace, Seaside Heights, New Jersey, and 1960 Route 35, Ortley Beach, New Jersey; 732-250-1525, houseoffriesnj.com.

This beachfront spot makes classic boardwalk fries with nearly half a dozen seasoning options — Cajun, adobo, Old Bay, tajin, and garlic parm — and even more sauces, including barbecue, Buffalo, chili, gravy and even marshmallow for sweet potato fries. These skin-on, twice-fried french fries are crispy, salty and cut perfectly: not too thick and not too thin. Dunked in ketchup or malt vinegar, they're perfect for a day at the beach. Sarah Griesemer, The Asbury Park Press

Read more on House of Fries.

Binghamton Hots | Binghamton, New York

Binghamton Hots is located on Washington Street in downtown Binghamton.
Binghamton Hots is located on Washington Street in downtown Binghamton.

Details: 128 Washington St., Binghamton, New York; 607-296-4687, binghamtonhots.com.

Starting as a late-night spot serving the local specialty — spiedies and hot plates to local college students —Binghamton Hots specializes in heavy-duty comfort food. The regular side of fries is a solid representation of traditional french fries — standard cut, soft potato on the inside, crunchy on the outside — and comes with a choice of three dipping sauces: ketchup, cheese or a spicy sriracha. More expensive than the standard side, these french fry combinations come with so many ingredients you can count them as a meal. Loaded fries are topped with your choice of chili or chicken, and come with onion, tomato, jalape?o, cheddar cheese and sriracha aioli. Old Bay french fries are served with a sriracha aioli. There's also this not-quite-french-fries curveball: loaded tots. Order them Philly-style, with Buffalo chicken, pulled pork, or chili and cheese. Kalyn Grant, The Press & Sun Bulletin

Read more on Binghamton Hots.

Petit Poutinerie | Rochester, New York

The breakfast poutine at the Petit Poutinerie in Rochester features a fried egg, along with french fries, beef gravy, cheese curds and fresh thyme.
The breakfast poutine at the Petit Poutinerie in Rochester features a fried egg, along with french fries, beef gravy, cheese curds and fresh thyme.

Details: 44 Elton St., Rochester, New York; 585-461-2224, petitpoutinerie.com.

The Le Petit Poutine food truck debuted in 2011, when Rochesterians were unfamiliar with Quebec's classic trilogy of french fries, cheese curds and gravy, which the truck sprinkled with fresh thyme. Instead, they would order fresh-cut fries on their own. Co-owner Lizzie Clapp would insist they try poutine instead. "If you don't like it, give it back and you can have fries," she'd tell them. She didn't have many returns, and now, ordering poutine from the food truck at a festival is synonymous with summertime in Rochester. In 2022, Clapp and co-owner Ronnie McClive opened the brick-and-mortar restaurant Petit Poutinerie — a slight variation of the name — in a sunken space in Rochester's thriving Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA). The restaurant serves eight versions of poutine, as well as a flight of three. Tracy Schuhmacher, Democrat and Chronicle

Read more on Petit Poutinerie.

P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille | Wilmington, North Carolina

P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille won the StarNews readers poll for the best fries in the area.
P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille won the StarNews readers poll for the best fries in the area.

Details: 3852 Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington, North Carolina, with five other locations in Leland and Wilmington, North Carolina; 910-833-7100, ptsgrille.com.

The fries here are typically the first thing people mention when asked to name the best in the Wilmington, North Carolina-area. Diners can watch as the staff pushes washed — but unpeeled — spuds through the potato cutter. They're blanched and fried twice before being dusted with the signature house seasoning blend of lemon pepper, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Fries come as a side or with ramekins of ketchup, ranch or honey mustard dressing. It sounds simple, but creating the right fry is an art, said Joe Pate, who owns the newest P.T.’s location at 3852 Carolina Beach Road. "It's trial and error, sometimes, to make sure they come out great every time," he said. Allison Ballard, StarNews

Read more on P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille

Senate | Blue Ash, Ohio

The duck fat fries and truffle fries from Senate in Blue Ash, Cincinnati.
The duck fat fries and truffle fries from Senate in Blue Ash, Cincinnati.

Details: 1100 Summit Place Drive, Blue Ash, Ohio; 513-769-0099, senateblueash.com.

Opened in 2010, Senate won over customers long ago with its duck fat fries and truffle fries. Fourteen years later, the restaurant still serves the best fries in Greater Cincinnati, according to our readers. The duck fat fries are particularly memorable. The twice-cooked fries, which are sprinkled with fresh herbs and salt, are thick with enough surface area to accommodate plenty of the accompanying harissa aioli dip (ketchup or, even better, malt vinegar, would work just as well). The interiors are luxuriously creamy while the duck fat makes its presence known by adding a savory flavor and crispiness to the exterior that makes them stand out from the pack. Keith Pandolfi, The Cincinnati Enquirer

Read more on Senate.

Marlow’s Cheesesteaks | Columbus, Ohio

The fries at Marlow's Cheesesteaks in Columbus and suburban Gahanna combine the best features of potato chips and potato wedges. They're crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside and good for dipping (or scooping) in a cup of Cheez Whiz.
The fries at Marlow's Cheesesteaks in Columbus and suburban Gahanna combine the best features of potato chips and potato wedges. They're crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside and good for dipping (or scooping) in a cup of Cheez Whiz.

Details: 1086 N. Fourth St. inside Budd Dairy Food Hall, Columbus, Ohio; 93 N. High St., Gahanna, Ohio; marlowscheesesteaks.com

Under the watchful eyes of Patti LaBelle, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant and other fellow Philadelphians who grace their restaurants’ murals, Jomar and Shanika Sheppard serve their hometown’s famous cheesesteaks in the heart of Ohio. But for the fries at their Philadelphia-style restaurants in Columbus and suburban Gahanna, Ohio, the Sheppards turned to yet another city for inspiration. The sliced, slightly cupped potatoes — thicker than a chip but thinner than a wedge, crispy on the outside but pillowy soft on the inside — are reminiscent of the boardwalk fries they loved in Atlantic City. At Marlow’s, they come sprinkled with a mild steakhouse-style house seasoning or covered with Cheez Whiz. There’s also loaded Kobe fries, which are topped with beef or chicken, Cheez Whiz and sauteed onions. — Bob Vitale, The Columbus Dispatch

Read more on Marlow’s Cheesesteaks.

Isaac Newton’s | Newtown, Pennsylvania

Isaac's fries, available at Isaac Newton's, in Newtown, Pennsylaniva, are Belgian-style fries lightly spiced using an Old Bay-inspired house seasoning and served with a bourbon mayo dip.
Isaac's fries, available at Isaac Newton's, in Newtown, Pennsylaniva, are Belgian-style fries lightly spiced using an Old Bay-inspired house seasoning and served with a bourbon mayo dip.

Details: 18 S. State St., Newtown, Pennsylvania; 215-860-5100, isaacnewtons.com

Isaac Newton’s has been around for more than 30 years, but when the restaurant reopened in 2003, nearly a year after it was devastated by a fire, Isaac’s fries landed on the menu and quickly became a top seller. These Belgian-style fries are thin, crispy and extra-long, lightly dusted with an Old Bay-inspired house seasoning blend and served with a tangy bourbon mayo sauce for dipping. “I think it’s the spice on them and the bourbon mayonnaise that really sets us apart from other restaurants,” said Chris Shemeley, head chef at Isaac Newton’s. — Michele Haddon, Bucks County Courier Times

BrewVino | York, Pennsylvania

Buffalo chicken fries, left, chicken bacon ranch fries, right, and regular fries at Brewvino in Dover Township June 26, 2024.
Buffalo chicken fries, left, chicken bacon ranch fries, right, and regular fries at Brewvino in Dover Township June 26, 2024.

Details: 2779 Carlisle Road, York on the Grandview Golf Course, York, Pennsylvania; 717-894-5917, brewvino.com

A local hangout for golfers, sports enthusiasts and families, BrewVino, is a casual bar, specializing in handcrafted pizza pies, a rotating beer and global wine menu — and french fries, hand-cut from 750 to 1,000 pounds of Idaho potatoes each week. Co-owner Jordan Chronister said the recipe is inspired by the boardwalk-style hand-cut fries he ate as a child when he and his family visited the Delaware beaches. At BrewVino, you can have them several ways: plain, with sea salt, or with plenty of toppings including Buffalo chicken, chicken bacon ranch, bacon and cheese or cheesesteak. — Lena Tzivekis, York Daily Record

Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant | Tiverton, Rhode Island

The Mozambique fry tower is the No. 1 appetizer at Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant, 70 Shove St., Tiverton, R.I.
The Mozambique fry tower is the No. 1 appetizer at Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant, 70 Shove St., Tiverton, R.I.

Details: 70 Shove St., Tiverton, Rhode Island; 401-816-5996, facebook.com/AtlanticSportsBarRestaurant

Designating the best fry is a tall order, but Atlantic Sports Bar and Restaurant delivers with its famous Mozambique fry tower. Atlantic takes your average loaded fry dish and kicks it up a notch with its Portuguese-inspired creation. If you're a fan of shrimp Mozambique — a staple at Portuguese eateries across southeastern Massachusetts — then this dish won't disappoint. This shareable palate-pleaser consists of french fries tossed in a saffron-based Mozambique sauce mixed with chourico and bacon, and smothered in melted cheeses. The tower is shaped inside a large cylinder, then baked and transferred onto a large plate and more sauce is poured on top. The result: an eye-catching snack that's both tasty and fun to eat. — Ashley Schuler, Herald News

Read more on Atlantic Sports Bar & Restaurant.

Dino’s | Nashville, Tennessee

A cheeseburger and animal-style fries at Dino's in East Nashville.
A cheeseburger and animal-style fries at Dino's in East Nashville.

Details: 411 Gallatin Ave., Nashville, Tennessee; 615-226-3566, dinosnashville.com

Dino's may be known as a late-night hang — the place you go after a night of revelry in East Nashville. But one of the many things that keeps locals and tourists alike coming back is the fries — salty, crunchy and just the right thickness. Make them "Animal Style" with Velveeta, grilled onions and a special sauce and they reach a whole other level, rivaling that Californian burger chain that popularized the name. Paired with a burger or one of the many beer and pony shot combos, you've got the perfect meal to cap off the night. Juan Buitrago, The Tennessean

Read more about Dino's.

Beansie’s Bus | Burlington, Vermont

Medium fries from Beansie's Bus ordered on Saturday, June 22, 2024, in Burlington.
Medium fries from Beansie's Bus ordered on Saturday, June 22, 2024, in Burlington.

Details: 1 Sherman St., Battery Park Road, Burlington, Vermont; 802-343-7181, beansies.com

When the yellow Beansie's converted school bus opens for the season on the north end of Battery Park in Burlington, Vermont, people in the Burlington area know that warm days aren't far behind. Beansie's serves old-fashioned, skin-on, straight-cut fries, the kind you remember from the fair. The texture leans toward a chewy heartiness along with the crunch, rather than a delicate crisp that characterizes so many fast-food fries. The location adds to the experience of eating at Beansie's. You can pick up your food, wander over to sit on the stone wall along the edge of Battery Park and have your meal with an expansive view of the waterfront, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks beyond. Aki Soga, Burlington Free Press

Read more about Beansie's.

Layman Brewing and I'll Take a Bite of That | Milwaukee, Wisconsin-area

The loaded fries from the I'll Take A Bite Of That food truck are a reader favorite in Milwaukee.
The loaded fries from the I'll Take A Bite Of That food truck are a reader favorite in Milwaukee.

Details: Layman, 6001 W. Madison St., West Allis, Wisconsin; 414-476-8788, laymanbrewing.com; I'll Take a Bite, W175N5645 Technology Drive, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; 414-552-6409, illtakeabiteofthat.com

Layman Brewing in West Allis and the I'll Take A Bite Of That food truck tied for the best fries in the Milwaukee area. Layman Brewing is known for its food as much as its beer. Its menu includes hand-cut fries, sweet potato fries and popular loaded chili cheese fries. At I'll Take A Bite Of That, you can get two kinds of loaded fries — regular, which are topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, giardiniera and shredded cheese, or barbecue chicken bacon ranch, which are topped with lettuce, shredded cheese, grilled chicken and turkey bacon, drizzled with Donnie Ray's sweet heat sauce and ranch dressing. Its menu also includes regular cheese fries and regular seasoned fries. Jessica Rodriguez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Read more about both Layman's and I'll Take a Bite.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: National french fry day 2024: America's favorite fries

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