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Fries ON a sandwich?

njmarshall55 Feb 28, 2013 09:41 AM

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.

  1. melpy Feb 28, 2013 09:53 AM

    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. grampart Feb 28, 2013 10:05 AM

      “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
        globocity Nov 9, 2013 08:44 AM

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

      2. Perilagu Khan Feb 28, 2013 10:18 AM

        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
          Lillipop Mar 1, 2013 04:16 AM

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

          1. re: Lillipop
            Perilagu Khan Mar 1, 2013 08:51 AM

            Sorry to have tempted you. ;)

        2. mudcat Feb 28, 2013 10:20 AM

          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.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mudcat
            almond tree Feb 28, 2013 10:12 PM

            Sounds like poutine's Cajun cousin.

          2. r
            RebelWithaCause Feb 28, 2013 10:21 AM

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: RebelWithaCause
              viperlush Feb 28, 2013 10:56 AM

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

            2. pinehurst Feb 28, 2013 10:23 AM

              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
                rockandroller1 Feb 28, 2013 10:37 AM

                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. m
                malibumike Feb 28, 2013 10:45 AM

                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
                  Davwud Feb 28, 2013 10:52 AM

                  "they belong on the side"

                  Says who??


                  1. re: malibumike
                    PattiCakes Mar 1, 2013 10:37 AM

                    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. Davwud Feb 28, 2013 10:46 AM

                    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.


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Davwud
                      Jelly71 Mar 1, 2013 04:47 PM

                      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
                        Pwmfan Mar 1, 2013 05:20 PM

                        "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
                          cresyd Mar 3, 2013 11:53 PM

                          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
                            Harters Mar 4, 2013 02:16 AM

                            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
                              cresyd Mar 4, 2013 02:26 AM

                              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.

                        2. TroyTempest Feb 28, 2013 10:50 AM

                          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
                            flavrmeistr Apr 11, 2013 12:31 PM

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

                          2. a
                            alwayshungrygal Feb 28, 2013 10:59 AM

                            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
                              Perilagu Khan Feb 28, 2013 11:29 AM

                              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
                                alwayshungrygal Mar 1, 2013 10:43 AM

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

                            2. l
                              laliz Feb 28, 2013 01:00 PM

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

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: laliz
                                gmm Feb 28, 2013 08:52 PM

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

                                1. re: gmm
                                  hill food Mar 4, 2013 02:35 AM

                                  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. Will Owen Feb 28, 2013 01:16 PM

                                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. Bacchus101 Feb 28, 2013 01:42 PM

                                  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. p
                                    Palladium Feb 28, 2013 01:49 PM

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

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Palladium
                                      cresyd Mar 3, 2013 11:59 PM

                                      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. Terrie H. Feb 28, 2013 01:50 PM

                                      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. h
                                        HillJ Feb 28, 2013 05:36 PM

                                        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. b
                                          Big Easy Feb 28, 2013 10:32 PM

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

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Big Easy
                                            flavrmeistr Apr 11, 2013 12:28 PM

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

                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                              eastofnevada Apr 11, 2013 04:27 PM

                                              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. j
                                            jounipesonen Feb 28, 2013 10:57 PM

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

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jounipesonen
                                              Davwud Mar 1, 2013 04:10 AM

                                              Potatoes on pizza is not all that unusual.


                                              1. re: Davwud
                                                mwhitmore Mar 5, 2013 07:33 PM

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

                                            2. Lillipop Mar 1, 2013 04:23 AM

                                              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
                                                almond tree Mar 1, 2013 04:41 AM

                                                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
                                                  freshlycured Mar 1, 2013 04:49 AM

                                                  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
                                                    Davwud Mar 1, 2013 05:07 AM

                                                    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
                                                      Lillipop Mar 1, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                      I saw that post after I blabbed about things:)

                                                    2. re: Lillipop
                                                      cresyd Mar 3, 2013 11:55 PM

                                                      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. bagelman01 Mar 1, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                      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. j
                                                        jbuttitta Mar 1, 2013 03:38 PM

                                                        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. f
                                                          foodieX2 Mar 1, 2013 03:38 PM

                                                          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. r
                                                            roux42 Mar 3, 2013 03:39 PM

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

                                                            1. Motosport Mar 4, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                              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. jrvedivici Mar 4, 2013 11:08 AM

                                                                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
                                                                  njmarshall55 Mar 4, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                  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. b
                                                                  Burghfeeder Mar 4, 2013 06:17 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                    njmarshall55 Mar 5, 2013 07:23 AM

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

                                                                    1. re: njmarshall55
                                                                      amyvc Mar 5, 2013 07:14 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                        njmarshall55 Mar 6, 2013 09:12 AM

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

                                                                  2. Bill Hunt Mar 5, 2013 06:59 PM

                                                                    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. m
                                                                      mwhitmore Mar 5, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                                      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. f
                                                                        flavrmeistr Apr 11, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                        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. Firegoat Jun 15, 2013 11:17 AM

                                                                          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. girloftheworld Jun 15, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                                            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.

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