HOME > Chowhound > General Midwest Archive >


Good french fries in MSP?

I know fries are a subjective topic.

But I am on the lookout for some good french fries.

Now, my personal favorite fries are from the "Fresh French Fries" booth at the MN State Fair. However these are only available for 2 weeks a year! :( I think I recall some time back someone had mentioned that the guy who was running this booth had a place locally where you could get these things all year, but IIRC this was long ago and I never was able to figure out where that place was.

What I'm NOT looking for is fries that are masked with seasoning and toppings. Just a little salt. I've been particularly annoyed that a lot of the fast food places (I don't think people think much of fast food on here!) have switched to fries with that coating/seasoning on them.

I personally prefer a hand cut "skin on" style fry. I've had good luck with Annie's Parlour in Dinkytown (and similarly its sister restaurant the Convention Grill).

Of course I don't want to discriminate against any good fries, so any cuts or styles are cool. I just don't think that adding on garlic seasoning or seasoned salt or whatever is really necessary if a fry is good in the first place.

Anyone got some tips?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For skin-on stuff, Casper and Runyon's Nook in St. Paul. Otherwise Vincent and Meritage,

    1. I share your opinion on what makes a great french fry. Three absolute must-haves:

      The Nook/Shamrocks in St. Paul
      Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley
      The Wienery in Cedar-Riverside

      1. Absolutely Craftsman, their fries are possibly perfect. I am biased towards thinner fries.

        Barbette and Meritage both rank highly as well, in the fancier fry realm, but not as good as craftsman.

        1. The Nook (my favorite)
          NE Bulldog

          1. I know they don't have the skin on, but I like Tinucci's in Newport. The fries are made to a deep golden brown and are very crispy on the outside while light and fluffy on the inside. They are niether thin nor thick, and they are pretty uniformly square. No weird seasoning or coating which I hate as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: qajohn

              I second quality fries at Barbette (skins not on); thinner - have not been to Craftsman. Nicollet island used to serve some really great french fries in the whole parchment cone deal with truffle oil (not sure how purist of a fry eater you want to be), but I don't believe they're on the menu anymore. Bummer.

            2. Have you tried the fries at Five Guys? Yes it is a chain but the fries are hand cut Idoha potatos and are cooked in 100% peanut oil. The portions are huge and they do remind me of State Fair fries.

              9 Replies
              1. re: phimoez

                It's been a while.

                I used to go to Five Guys when I lived in Virginia. They are OK, but to me they are a little greasy. You're right about the portions, they are huge. I also like that they serve malt vinegar with them. I love that.

                1. re: qajohn

                  Haha. True they are a bit greasy but that's part of the appeal. Since they are looking for Fair-like fries I figured greasy would be good. Plus they are cheap! I hate going out to eat and spending $7 on fries and being disappointed with them. Five Guys recently opened a location in Edina on France Ave.

                2. re: phimoez

                  I'm going to try this for lunch today :)

                  1. re: autobahn

                    Did you try them today? What did you think? :)

                    1. re: phimoez

                      They were excellent. I was blown away at the quality of these fries even though they are technically fast food fries.

                      I love the fact that Five Guys throws in a bunch of "refugee fries" on purpose on top of everything in the bag. Makes it fun to dig out your burger amongst a mountain of fries.

                      I would recommend this place to anyone BUT it's currently going through its "new in Minnesota" phase with typical lines all the way out the door and nowhere to sit. (at least the 2 times I've been there - it's that good!) My suggestion would be an off-hour or something like that...

                      1. re: autobahn

                        I knew you would like them!! When they opened, we went like 3 times that week because we missed them so much. It has been about a year since moving here from NY and they really hit the spot. I agree about the line but thankfully it goes pretty quick. Plus you can munch on peanuts to pass the time. You wanna talk about lines.........try going to Burger Jones........................

                  2. re: phimoez

                    I agree the fries at five guys were the some of the best I've had, though I don't eat at all the fancier reccomendations so I can't help you there.

                    1. re: phimoez

                      Second this...Good fries and from a chain. Love the malt vinegar.

                      1. re: phimoez

                        jfood had the fries at 5-guys the other night and they were very good. hard to believe they were from a chain.

                      2. My faves:
                        Nook (skin-on)
                        For thin, crisp fries:

                        1. I second mentions of The Nook, Vincent, 112, Bulldog NE, The Weinery, and a couple of others.

                          I also really enjoy the sweet potato fries at Herkimer, and while I mostly am not enthused about Yum!, they go have good fries.

                          I also love the fries at Town Talk Diner.

                          1. i love the fries at strip club in st paul. though not skin-on style,they are the fries that mcdonald's fries *wish* they were, if you know what i mean. served with bearnaise sauce and bacon ketchup. mmmmmm. . . . bacon ketchup. . . . *drool*

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: soupkitten

                              totally off-topic-but I do remember a fabulously romantic night on my third date with my now hubby--eating french fries at the State Fair, and he'd never had malt vinegar on them before...
                              OK OK-I would say that the Strip Club fries are fantastic though...

                            2. anyone tried the fries at the Chef Shack? they look pretty good.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: getgot211

                                Yes, I've had the Chef Shack fries, and they are worth going out of your way for. I thought they were quite like the State Fair fries, but with homemade condiments available to go with them.

                                1. re: Quince

                                  the fries are good if you can eat them fast while they are hot (bring friends, you get a lot). their homemade ketchup is too sweet for me, though.

                              2. I'm going to give a nod to the fries at Busters on 28th in S. Minneapolis. I'm not sure if they are fresh cut, but they certainly have that flavor.

                                Be warned, if you order an appetizer of fries (or onion rings, for that matter), they bring you an entire fryer basket worth, making them a suitable appetizer for at least 4 people.

                                1. the good fries jfood ahs enjoyed.

                                  burger bar
                                  strip club
                                  5 guys
                                  matts bar

                                  1. Champps waffle fries with mayo hot red sause. the best taste and you get a mountain full for a few bucks.