Austin Fries – AFBA City Guide

AFBA City Guide Logo

Introduction

This post about french fries was written for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance 2015 City Guide. In its fifth year, the guide is a compilation of food around Austin. It’s written entirely by bloggers who are also AFBA members. Click over to the AFBA website to read their best-ofs.

I really like fries. Rather than try to include all the fries available in this sprawling city, I provided an assortment that seems (to me) essentially Austin (for one reason or another). I asked friends for suggestions and received more than I had room for. The list isn’t in any kind of order and not all of those included here would make it onto my list of favorites. Ready? Here goes.

Black StarBlack Star Co-Op Pub & Brewery Seasoned Chips
blackstar.coop | 7020 Easy Wind Dr Ste 100 | M 4pm-12am, Tu-Th, Su 11am-12 am, F-Sa 11am-1am

It took me a while to like Black Star, mostly because the first time I went (perhaps not long after they opened) the food wasn’t good. Fortunately, friends convinced me to give them and their wide cut, crisp, garlic-seasoned chips a second chance. Chips not fries — it is an English style, cooperatively-owned brewpub. The fries are also great topped with cheese, jalapeno, and bacon. I’ve heard you can get beer to go.

(The picture of me was taken by my good friend, Felice. All other pictures by me. But not the logo.)

Moviehouse & Eatery Papas Supremo
themoviehouse.com/austin | 8300 N FM 620 Bldg B | Su-Sa apx 11:30am-11:30pm, see website for showtimes

It may sound traitorous to Austin (read Alamo Drafthouse), but this is my favorite dine in movie theater. The Papas Supremo have a lot to do with that. The theater itself is far away from the center of Austin. It’s a naturally beautiful area of the hill country that is being replaced with large shopping centers. But, I don’t seem to feel any guilt while I’m reclining in the theater’s wide chairs, rotating table set up in front of me, a thick fry dripping with melted cheese and sour cream (seriously good sour cream) in my left hand and a beer an inch away from my right.

Chi’Lantro BBQ The Original Kimchi Fries
chilantrobbq.com | Food Truck Locations and Times (see website) | brick and mortar, 1509 S Lamar | Su-Th 10:30am-10pm, F-Sa, 10:30am-12pm

I didn’t want to give too many smothered covered fries, but there is one more I have to list. Plus, it’s a local food truck and they do have two other seasoned options — I’ve just never eaten those because the only thing I’ve ever ordered is their Kimchi Fries. I have finagled work lunch schedules more often than I should have just so I could eat these spicy fries with beef bulgogi and kimchi.

Be warned, friends have expressed concern over this new addiction. Do you really want that to happen to you?

Dan’s Hamburgers Curly Fries
dans-hamburgers.com | 4308 Manchaca Rd, 844 Airport Blvd, 5602 N Lamar Blvd | Su-Th 6am-10pm, F-Sa 6am-11pm

There are several long-time cheap diner joints in Austin, but Dan’s made it in because it was one of the first mentioned after I started asking for post ideas. Despite having lived close to a location for several years I’ve only been once. However, living close to a location means I know this place is very popular. My dog, finding himself on his own one morning, went directly to the diner’s parking lot. It’s possible no one would ever find my apartment if this diner wasn’t ready to serve as a landmark. Do you get it? People are very loyal to these types of Austin restaurants.

These are also the only curly fries on this list. Which is a shame. Curly fries are fun. (They have straight fries too.)

Dart BowlDart Bowl Cafe Chili Cheese Fries
dartbowl.com | 5700 Grover Ave | Su 9am-8pm, M-Th 9am-9:30pm, F-Sa 9am-10pm (cafe hours, alley is open later)

Oddly, I’ve had some really good fries in bowling alleys. If you’re visiting a city you might not think to go bowling, but you should think about coming here. This place is classic Austin — complete with celebrity autographs. There are no frills, no presentation. There are styrofoam plates and plastic forks. They make their own chili…cut their own potatoes and that is very cool.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand French Fries
pterrys.com | 9 locations (see website) | hours vary, most open about 7/8am and close midnight or later

A couple years ago I almost entirely gave up fast food (obviously, that didn’t mean giving up burgers and fries). I think it was successful because it wasn’t planned. There have been a couple instances though and one of those was going through the drive-thru at P. Terry’s this past Christmas. They are the local, better-for-you fast food restaurant. I wasn’t too impressed, but their expanding popularity shows most are. (I refuse to list all locations with address and hours, click the link above to see them all.)

They do deserve some major props for their conscientious business practices — from the quality of the food to their charitable giving days. They’ve managed to gain a huge presence in the Austin area in just 10 years too.

HopDoddy Burger Bar Kennebec Fries
hopdoddy.com | 1400 S Congress | Su-Th 11am-10pm, F-Sa 11am-11pm | 2438A W Anderson Ln | Su-Sa 11am-10pm

This is another wildly popular burger joint that shows local businesses can thrive. In just a few years they’ve already expanded. What’s more they are another place listening to their conscience. I come here for the doddy (burgers) — the fries (Kennebec or Truffle) just don’t do it for me. Others disagree. Both locations usually have a line out front. I’ve managed to avoid the line by eating a really early dinner or late lunch depending on your perspective.

Mettle East Austin Bistro Fries
mettleaustin.com | 507 Calles St. | Su 11am-11pm, M-F 4pm-Midnight, Sa 11am-Midnight

At the very end of East 6th is a shared retail building that I guess used to be one large warehouse. It’s a good concept. I went to Mettle with a friend after attending a class at East Side Glass located in the same building (it’s moved since then). We ordered fries — plain, thin cut served with aioli and ketchup. I intended to go back with another friend, but only made it to Hops & Grain (I’ll have to make one more visit to use up my drink tickets.) again in the same building. While there I talked to a woman who stopped at the brewery because she had attended a class at Sky Candy across the hall. This is a shopping mall I can like. Both visits (or intended visits) Mettle had lots of open tables — especially compared to the brewery.

While I like these places — especially the different types of local entrepreneurs — I am saddened by how they make what used to be a lower income area of town unaffordable — which is very Austin. Anyone have any innovative solutions?

WorkhorseWorkhorse Parmesan Fries
workhorsebar.com | 100 E North Loop Blvd Ste B | Su-Sa 11 am-Midnight

This is my neighborhood pub and if you say something bad about them I’ll come after you. That might seem like a harsh reaction, but that’s the kind of fiercely loyal community the owners and employees have created.  I prefer the community, burgers, and beer selection more than the fries (Parmesan or Sweet Potato) — though I do eat a lot of them. I highly recommend also getting the White Wings or a Buffalo Bastrop Burger so that you can use the extra sauce for dipping.

That’s the end of my roundup. What would you have included?


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