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Fries ON a sandwich?

When did this addition get to be so popular. The first time I heard about it was on one of the food/travel shows going to Primanti Bros. Does anyone else find this to be over the top? too much? To me, they belong on the side. IMHO, of course.

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  1. In my part of PA they put fries in your salad.

    Not really a fan of either.

    My mother used to put fries on her McDonald's cheeseburger.

    1. “What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
      ― A.A. Milne

      1 Reply
      1. re: grampart

        Can't say I ever met a man who didnt like potatoes. Do they exist in the U.S.?

      2. I wouldn't dig it.

        On the other hand, I make an Indian dish called Haryali Chicken that is topped with fries. Kinda strange and kinda delicious.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          I no longer eat meat but that makes me want to really bad.I love chicken and I love good fries.Sounds so tempting:)

        2. Martin Brothers Driveins in New Orleams years ago was famous for their potato sandwiches. French fries on Po Boy bread slathered with roast beef gravy or mayo. It was about a foot long and cost $00.15 cents. I still make them today.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mudcat

            Sounds like poutine's Cajun cousin.

            1. re: mudcat

              I heard that this was the original po boy - affordable for laborers.

            2. Rutgers Grease Trucks have been doing this since the 80's. Popular in Jersey.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RebelWithaCause

                Yup, that was my first thought when I read the OP.

              2. They've been doing it for a while around colleges and universities, esp at places that are open in the wee hours on the weekend.

                It's a way for them to stretch a relatively small amount of protein in a sandwich into something big, greasy, and satisfying for the patrons who have been imbibing and have the munchies.

                I'll pass on that addition.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pinehurst

                  Agreed, there's a chain here that caters to this crowd and they've been around about 20 years and always had fries on the sandwich. I loved them.

                2. Its ridiculous IMHO, they belong on the side, I suspect that some vendors just want to fill up their sandwich with something cheap so they can secretly reduce the amount of meat.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: malibumike

                      Primanti's is in Pittsburgh, traditionally a blue collar town. They didn't do it to fill the sandwich with something cheap, they did it so hungry factory workers could have everything in one convenient, albeit large, package. One could say that sauerkraut or coleslaw should be served on the side instead of in a deli sandwich, but thank heavens there are people who think outside the box.

                    2. It's popular on Gyro in parts of Greece and I saw that a Falafel Shawarma in Israel comes with them too.

                      I've had it on Gyro and DO NOT LIKE IT!! The potato is way too dominant.

                      Taco Bell here in Canada serves fries and I liked putting them in my Chilitos.


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Davwud

                        There is a gyro place near me that does that. I found the fries got soggy immediately. I do not understand who thought that was a good idea.

                        1. re: Davwud

                          "The potato is way too dominant"

                          Thank you, Davwud!

                          I love sandwichs. I love fries. I don't love them in the same bite and I've always wondered why.

                          You nailed it.

                          1. re: Davwud

                            In Israel, fries are often served in with shwarma and falafel.

                            But to go one further - the "chips + kabob" is pretty common in Ireland and the UK. Abrakababra (and I'm sure other places) also have a dish called a Chip Butty which is just chips, lettuce, tomato, and sauces wrapped up.

                            1. re: cresyd

                              That would be a posh "chip butty". A "proper" one is just chips on the bread - no lettuce or tomato (not that you can get such things in most fish & chip shops). This is one case when you want cheap, white sliced bread for your butty. Anything fancier is just so wrong. Lots of malt vinegar, of course.

                              A bread roll sandwich is also perfectly acceptable and the more likely offering at a chip shop. Depending on which part of the UK you are buying this it's a chip barm, bap, muffin or cob. Never a "chip bread roll" or a "chip sandwich".

                              1. re: Harters

                                The idea of anything from Abrakababra being posh is definitely a bit of a giggle for me - but I do understand.

                                During my time in Ireland, I never really sought out or ate any chip butty's - so I'm definitely open to being corrected and educated.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  Got to agree with Harters. Chip butties go back to my childhood 60 years ago and maybe even farther back than that.

                            2. According to wikipedia (so it has to be true). I also heard something like this in the past, so if true, there was a legitimate reason, not just novelty.

                              "Primanti's designed their sandwich to be eaten with one hand, while the driver drove the truck with the other. "

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                That's right. In the Jewish deli's of Baltimore, that's known as a "one-hander".

                              2. It doesn't float my boat but I wouldn't say that they belong on the side. Some people like potato chips on their sandwiches, some think it's disgusting. I love a good Reuben, some people think sauerkraut is nasty.

                                As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, who really cares?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                  Well, I don't think anybody's asking the gubmint to declare marshall law over this.

                                  In some folks' opinion, fries belong on the side. Simple as that.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                    Agreed, absolutely. I just don't understand why some folks get twisted in a knot about it (or other things).

                                2. OMG ~~ McDonalds fries on a filet o fish. not too many and tear off all the surplus bun

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: laliz

                                    lol! - that's exactly what I do! :)

                                    1. re: gmm

                                      I'm sort of surprised ipsedixit, known for waiting for the moment McD's breakfast hash browns go off menu and filet-O go on, to combine them, hasn't seen this (it IS good)

                                  2. In my USAF days my barracks was half a block from the snack bar, where one could buy (among other things) very gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and greasy fries. It was open until around 1 am, so on some GI Party nights, after I'd gotten the room all polished up, I'd celebrate by getting a grilled cheese and fries to go, then bringing it back to the room and stuffing as many fries as would fit into the sandwich. Heaven!

                                    Although I don't do that any more - though I would, if those items were available close by - I do like to get the 2-for-1 Sausage & Egg McMuffin deal and one hashbrowns cake, and put half the cake into each sandwich. Still heaven!

                                    1. My choice for location of FF is on the side of the main event or alone, not in a sandwich. I also had heard explained that this was a function over form issue for workers needing a one handed lunch. Since we are talking about sandwiches here ,if this is what you as the consumer liked, fine have at it. As far as it being inventive, imaginative or an interesting component of a sandwich, for me it is none of the above. It is not so much the inclusion of potatoes on a sandwich that bothers me it is that what I have seen of Primanti's it is a pile slammed on top with the "aren't we special" attitude because we do this!

                                      1. Old news to for those on this side of the pond. I give you: the chip butty.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Palladium

                                          I would guess (though I have nothing to back this up), that globally the presence of fries/chips in sandwiches can be linked to having some kind of British rule. As mentioned on this thread already, chips in a falafel is very Israeli - but chips with everything is also something I've seen in Jordan and Egypt.

                                          There is a Palestinian cafe near where I work (in Jerusalem) that does its own chip butty, as well as an omelette sandwich topped with chips.

                                        2. Definitely not my choice. But I remember decades ago when burritos weren't loaded up with rice and beans inside. It seems to be an American trend to make everything huge, as if huge equals good.

                                          1. Grew up eating the local sausage, peppers and thick cut fries subs. Which grew to eggs, peppers, cheese and fries subs.
                                            I put fries in meatloaf sandwiches sometimes, but usually home fries.
                                            My son's buddy makes a french fry sandwich that includes one hamburger patty, thick slice of Swiss cheese, super crispy fries and fried pickles.

                                            1. The french fry po-boy, slathered with roast beef gravy, has been a New Orleans staple for generations.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Big Easy

                                                French fries and gravy is a Baltimore thing, but we don't bother with the roll.

                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                  It's not just a Baltimore thing, I used to have them all the time growing up in the Hudson Valley in NY. They have disco fries in New Jersey and of course poutine in Canada.

                                              2. Just about as ridiculous as the pizza I saw with French Fries 'topping' in US once.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jounipesonen

                                                  Potatoes on pizza is not all that unusual.


                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                    No, sliced potatoes on a pizza is normal---usually with whole garlic cloves and no tomato. But *fries* on a pizza?! Very weird.

                                                2. I saw a falafel pita with fries added in a movie that was filmed in Tel Aviv. It looked scrumptious.It was from a street vendor. In fact I have seen that sandwich a few times when I watch films from Israel.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Lillipop

                                                    Yes, I think it was mentioned upthread that in Israel, falafel & schwarma usually come with fries (& lots of delicious kinds of salads & sauces) inside the pita ... and they ARE scrumptious. Hope you'll get to try one some day.
                                                    I don't know if they were designed for one-handed eating though -- if I don't hold them very carefully, they tend to spritz all over the place.

                                                    1. re: almond tree

                                                      Couldn't agree more on the fries/falafel combo. Had it in Israel for the 1st time 20 years ago and am yet to find a better use of french fries in a sandwich . . . . even better than Primanti Bros. (which I like too).

                                                      1. re: almond tree

                                                        The Canadian version of DDD (You Gotta Eat Here) just did a piece on an Israeli place that serves their shawarma on laffa (Iraqi bread). I've been but haven't had the falafel shawarma but it indeed has fries on it.


                                                        Starts at 7:20. There's a marker there.


                                                        1. re: almond tree

                                                          I saw that post after I blabbed about things:)

                                                        2. re: Lillipop

                                                          When the fries are fresh it's nice - but it can go pretty wrong as well. From a texture standpoint, since most fries will end up sitting for a while and get pretty soggy - I prefer fries when served with a sharwma because the textures don't end up all becoming the same.

                                                          And lots of tahina, no hummus.

                                                        3. The first time I was serve, d fries on a sandwich was in 1974 on Allenby Road in Tel Aviv. I went to my cousin's favorite felafel place, they split the pit, filled with felafel balls, salad and sauce and topped the sandwich with french fries.

                                                          A perfect meal in my hand, bread, protein, vegetables and starch and delicious to boot

                                                          1. Big Ass Sandwiches in Portland, Oregon are masters of this particular art form. Try one of their sandwiches and you will be amazed and converted.

                                                            1. I grew up in the early seventies and putting fries on top of your burger or sandwich was standard fare in my cafeteria. It didn't come that way but thats what we did.

                                                              At home we rarely had fries but did have home fries a lot, for breakfast and dinner

                                                              1. Otherwise known as Chip Butty, another British contribution to the wonderful world of exotic foods!

                                                                1. Panini's near "The Jake" (now called Progressive field) serves a nice carved meat sammich with coleslaw, tomato, melted cheese and french fries. Far an extra $ they tossed a fried egg on top!!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!
                                                                  10 years later I still remember that sammich!!

                                                                  1. As Rebelwithacause somewhere above mentions this has been a regular practice in the NJ area for over 20 years. I'm 42 but back in the late 80's early 90's this was the trend at many college area locations. The term locally is a "Fat" sandwich....they also put fried mozzerrella cheese sticks on them...you name it they stuff it in a sandwich.

                                                                    Very common for many many years here in the North East.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      Guess I wasn't the adventurous type growing up in No. NJ...never heard of/seen it in any of the diners I went to, restaurants, etc. Thanks for all the input. Guess the fries-on-top is more prevalent than I thought.

                                                                    2. I just had a Primanti Bros roast beef sandwich today...I truly love those things! I also understand why some might not like it, but I don't get why some get so upset just because I enjoy fries and slaw on my sandwich!

                                                                      Heck, some people even like Brussel sprouts....


                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Burghfeeder

                                                                        OP here...I'm not upset, really, just curious. And I DO enjoy Brussel Sprouts!

                                                                        1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                          OP, you are not upset, but some on here are awfully judgey about a few fries on a sandwich. I can say I love the Primanti's version. They do not get soggy. I can totally agree that soggy fries or potato too dominant would not be good. So my answer is, "Yes, I like fries on a sandwich as long as it's done properly" (i.e., crispy fries, not too much potato).

                                                                          1. re: amyvc

                                                                            Touche, my friend. To each their own. But still curious.

                                                                      2. While I love great fries, I have never been a fan of them on a sandwich. My wife, during nursing school, when funds were tight, would do "French Fry Po-Boys," at a nearby tavern, but I never warmed to such.


                                                                        1. I *learned* my Chicago hot dogs at Jimmy's Place, corner of Euclid and Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights, Illinois. And fries were served on the side. (the special, 35c---hot dog, small fries, Pepsi, *no Coke!*) But once the rush was over, Jimmy Himself would build a hot dog with the usual condiments,*plus* fries on top. Make of this what you will.

                                                                          1. Agreed. Potato chips, yes. Fries, no. Cuban steak sandwiches (pan con bistec) usually have potato sticks on them, which are better than chips. They give the sandwich a nice crunch and saltiness. Fries are great on their own, but they make for a mushy sandwich.

                                                                            1. Absolutely love it on the Murphy's Steak House (Bartlesville, OK) famous Hot Hamburger. It is like Oklahoma's answer to Poutine. There is nothing like going on a long trail run out at the lake and then getting together with everyone and replacing all those calories.
                                                                              If you're ever in the area I highly recommend it.

                                                                              1. where mom grew up there was a Murphy's Hot hamburger which was legendary.. it was an open face burger( some debate on another thread if this counts as a sandwich) with fries and brown gravy.. people came from far and wide waiting hours at Muphys for this treat.

                                                                                1. Who...In their right mind would ruin a beautiful sandwich by piling greasy, heavy, disgusting french fries onto it. What bizzaro world is this that you would pile this obvious filler into an amazing combination of cheese and meat and perfectly toasted bread. ..insanity. If you just worked 14 hrs at the concrete plant and you need to stuff yourself, by all means. But do not brag about how great your sandwich is if you add fries inside or top.

                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Lakewiz

                                                                                    Lake - your social satire is far too subtle, makes Evelyn Waugh appear to be a Ritz Brother in comparison.

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      This began while listening to a podcast in which a speaker could not stop bragging about the greatness of primantis. I did some digging and the cheese grater against my neck (fries on a sandwich) began. While not demanding 'you' not be allowed to put fries in a sandwich...I refuse to acknowledge the redeeming qualities of such heresy. While a whole other discussion this falls right along side the absolute blasphemic practice of putting rice in a burrito. Are we animals? Are we not the enlightened ones? Back to the fries in a sandwich. Unless there are very few...and they are thin and crispy I cannot begin to see any taste equity in this idea. So public flogging has fallen by the wayside..ok..I'm down w that but if nothing else we should re - implement the stocks for such egregious acts against society.

                                                                                      1. re: Lakewiz

                                                                                        heh, there is always too much of a good thing. it was never about flavor but rather texture (for me anyway and I'm an oblivious sociopath)

                                                                                    2. re: Lakewiz

                                                                                      While greasy heavy disgusting fries have no place on a sandwich or on a plate for that matter, well made fries on a sandwich can be a delight. Try a "Pork Hammer" from Big Ass Sandwiches in Portland, Oregon

                                                                                      1. re: jbuttitta

                                                                                        Never say never...but...the only time we (that is the royal we...i mean you)should eat potatoes w bread is in a knish. While ill politely defer to your knowledge in regards to the taste of the 'pork hammer', I just looked at the web site with a picture of the sandwich you labeled delightful. Loaded with soggy greasy fries...AND ..AND...the other absolute food felony putting piles of vinegar soaked cabbage in a sandwich. The varied opinions I espouse are of course personal tastes but for the sake of entertainment I'll project my thoughts as if they were accepted standards of decorum.

                                                                                        1. re: Lakewiz

                                                                                          A falafel sandwich with fries added is amazing.

                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                            which I posted in March of 2013 down thread................

                                                                                            oldest B daughter likes mashed potatoes on her hot meat sandwiches

                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                              So did I.....personally, I think French fries and falafel is amazing while French fries and shwarma is gross. So tastes will vary. That being said, French fries with tahini as a condiment is always tasty.

                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                I forgot about a leftover meatloaf and mashed potato sandwich. There are exceptions to every rule.

                                                                                              2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                Haven't tried it but. ..I'm still not buying it. Lol.

                                                                                                1. re: Lakewiz

                                                                                                  Then to paraphrase many a sage Chowhounder before me - why yuck someone's yum?

                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                    The difference in tastes and opinions are the spice of life and conversation. Not telling anyone what to eat...the thread asked "fries on a sandwich? " asked for our opinion..not a vanilla milk toast everyone have the same tastes and opinions. All in fun anyway. I like green chile mac and cheese...sure someone finds that repulsive. And I'm ok with them saying so!

                                                                                        2. I always make a point to go to Primanti's when I'm in Pizza-burk. Those sandwiches are fantastic.