12 Chain Restaurants That Only Use Fresh Fries

Crispy on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside, french fries are one of the fast food industry's top sellers. In fact, according to National Geographic, Americans consume close to 30 pounds of the side dish each year on average. It's no surprise that the nation's fry market is projected to rise to $9.9 million by 2026 (via Allied Market Research). The U.S. even has a National French Fry Day on July 13, intended to celebrate the savory goodness of this fried potato dish.

It's no great secret that most chain restaurants get their french fries delivered pre-cut and frozen. After all, they want their side dishes to be cheap, fast, and simple to prepare. However, this isn't the case for all chains. Some fast-food restaurants actually make their fries in-house from fresh potatoes. The intricate process usually involves hand-cutting or machine-slicing the spuds, blanching them, and double frying them in hot oil. It also requires very careful selection of the potato type — most chain restaurants make their French fries from Idaho or Russet Burbank potatoes.

From large international franchises to regional fast-food joints, here is our roundup of the chain restaurants that only use fresh fries.

1. In-n-Out

In-n-Out is very proud of the fact that the chain has no need for freezers or microwaves. It's not just the USDA ground chuck patties that are served fresh — the chain's french fries are also made from scratch at its numerous locations across the U.S. The potatoes are hand-cut in-house and fried in 100% sunflower oil.

With so much effort put into the humble french fry, it's sad to see that it isn't exactly paying off. In fact, most fast-food enthusiasts seem critical of In-n-Out fries. Conceding that the restaurant's french fries are fresh, food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson notes that they are also "bland, crumbly little matchsticks that aren't improved by any amount of ketchup, salt, cheese, or salad dressing you want to add to them" (via Los Angeles Times). Community reviewers seem to agree, and multiple Quora patrons have debated why the fries are not up to par compared with the competition, ultimately explaining it by the fact that In-n-Out doesn't fry the potatoes twice. 

If the classic In-n-Out french fries aren't quite your cup of tea, you can always try the chain's animal-style fries. The secret menu item comes loaded with melted cheese, grilled onions, and a secret spread. And if you want the ultimate animal-style fries, take them to the next level by ordering them with a ground-up patty.

2. Five Guys

Founded in 1986, Five Guys currently operates 1,500 locations around the globe. And there's a good reason why the franchise has grown: its delicious burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and sides. When it comes to french fries, the chain offers classic Five Guys-style fries and Cajun-style fries. Both are made from freshly-cut potatoes that are fried twice in cholesterol-free 100% peanut oil.

While most fast food lovers view french fries as a mere side dish, this isn't the approach taken by the family behind Five Guys. Chad Murrell, one of the sons of the chain's founder Jerry Murrell, explains, "They are the hardest thing we have to do, but people think that it's the easiest. If you don't do them right, they're still kinda good and people don't complain. But that doesn't cut it with us!" (via Food Republic).

So what's the lowdown? Five Guys sources its Russet Burbank potatoes from Idaho 10 months each year. When these get too soft for frying, the restaurant replaces them with spuds from Washington or Oregon, director of training Amy Cryzter explained to Insider. Once in the kitchen, the potatoes are sliced, rinsed, and soaked to eliminate excess starch. Then they are precooked for around two and a half minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, left out to cool for at least 10 minutes, and fried again.

3. Mooyah

For Mooyah, fries are serious business. The chain offers regular hand-cut Idaho french fries and sweet potato fries (it's unclear whether these are also cut in-house). It also prides itself on its 24-hour, six-step "fatiguing fry frenzy." More specifically, the restaurant's fry-making process involves, "washing, cutting, rinsing, agitating, and double-frying" in canola oil. The fast food outlet's fries can also be ordered with green chile queso for an added kick.

The effort Mooyah is putting into its fries seems to be paying off. Nancy Nichols from DM Magazine writes that despite the fact that the Mooyah burger she sampled was delicious, it wasn't mouth-watering enough to make her repeat the experience. However, this wasn't the case for the french fries. "I found a slight crunch with every bite and a soft hot center. At the bottom of the cup, I found a treasure trove of salty, crunchy nubs," Nichols describes. Enough said.

4. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse

Just as its name suggests, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse specializes in steaks and chops. However, this is far from the franchise's only offering. The chain also serves seafood, soups, salads, and — you guessed it — hand-cut french fries. And while the classically-cut fries are the only ones that appear on the restaurant's official menu, food delivery sites such as Grub Hub also offer Ruth's Chris Steakhouse's extra thin and crispy shoestring fries. It's unclear which particular restaurants offer them though. One Yelp user complained about a location in Pennsylvania: "No shoestring fries!!! How could this happen? They are offered on the website and are a signature side at every Ruth's. No one seemed to know why they were no longer offered at this Ruth's."

While not many french fries fans mention Ruth's Chris Steakhouse's classic fries, the shoestring fries seem to receive their fair share of attention. "The shoestring fries were aweeesome! I usually don't gush over fries ... but these were damn good!!," one Yelp reviewer writes. For those wishing to recreate Ruth's Chris Steakhouse's shoestring fries at home, copycat recipes call for potatoes, canola oil, sea salt, parsley, and a mandoline slicer — a kitchen essential if you want to get your fries matchstick thin.

5. Wingstop

While Wingstop is generally known for its flavored chicken wings, the chain also has plenty to offer in the french fries department. In fact, the restaurant's menu features four different takes on the ubiquitous side dish — all fresh-cut Idaho potatoes. While the seasoned fries are a Wingstop staple, you can also pick from cheese fries, Buffalo ranch fries, and Louisiana voodoo fries topped with cheese sauce, ranch sauce, and Cajun seasoning.

According to Don Odiorne, the vice president of food service at the Idaho Potato Commission, Wingstop consulted the organization about perfecting its fries. "We had potato expert Greg Shannon, a consultant who used to do training seminars for Simplot, visit the chain on multiple occasions and he developed a set of specs for the fryer equipment, the potato variety to use, storage requirements, and preparation," Odiorne shared.

Wingstop's passion and commitment certainly show in the final product. One TripAdvisor reviewer praises the chain's fries, saying, "I love hand cut fries. My whole family does. We hate the pre-cut, pre-cooked frozen fries. Wingstop has the best. You get a huge portion. The best fries around. Hot right out of the fryer." There are also plenty of copycat Wingstop fry recipes on the internet for those wishing to replicate the experience at home, so you don't need to miss out if you don't live near a location.

6. Melt Bar & Grilled

With nine locations in Ohio, Melt Bar & Grilled is a regional grilled cheese chain that specializes in craft beer and classic American "comfort food, all dressed up." More specifically, the venue serves gourmet sandwiches with various types of cheese and other favorites such as pulled beef brisket, homemade meatballs, and smoked turkey.

The chain's selection of french fries is nothing to sneeze at either and includes cheese bacon fries, chili cheese fries, cheese gravy fries, and garlic Romano fries. The star of the menu, however, are the hangover fries with pulled pork, gravy, mozzarella cheese, fried sunny-side-up egg, and scallions.

So what's the verdict? Reviewers rave about the Melt Bar & Grilled fries, with one satisfied patron saying, "Fries are my obsession! These fries were perfectly salted and very filling. No ketchup was required because they were that good!" Another reviewer recommends the chain's hangover fries, adding that they are a "meal within themselves and to die for." 

7. BurgerFi

"We don't just tear open a bag of frozen fries + call it a day like those other guys," the folks from BurgerFi proclaim in a post on the restaurant's Facebook page. Instead, the burger joint's fries are made from Russet potatoes, which are sliced, blanched, double-fried for added crunch, and seasoned on the premise, as an employee explained to Sunset 365.

BurgerFi's fries seem to be a hit with community reviewers. One patron calls them "the best French fries ever," elaborating, "The burgers are great and the beer and tea are very good, but the fries are to die for! They are crunchy and not greasy at all like at Five Guys." Another fry connoisseur says, "They were served sizzling hot and crispy. They were perfection! And the portion was a pretty good size."

Rachel Askinasi, who reviewed BurgerFi for Insider, says that the fries arrived at her table salted and hot. "The potatoes were cut to around ½-inch thick, varied in length, and some had brown potato skin on the outside, which I personally love. They were soft inside and had a semi-crunchy exterior," she comments. On the downside, Askinasi also writes that the fries didn't retain their flavor, turning cold and stiff within 30 minutes.

8. The Varsity

Boasting six locations around Atlanta and Athens, The Varsity specializes in hot dogs and burgers. And we all know that nothing takes these fast-food staples to the next level like a batch of crispy, mouth-watering fries. Going back to basics, The Varsity serves its hand-cut Idaho potatoes fried in canola oil and salted. When it comes to fries, things just don't get any more old-school than this.

So how do The Varsity French fries measure up? Unfortunately, the community consensus probably isn't what the chain's founders envisaged when they first launched the fast food joint way back in 1928, quickly gaining the title of the world's largest drive-in restaurant. One TripAdvisor reviewer says, "Never again," adding that the restaurant's French fries were undercooked. Another fast food enthusiast calls them the "worst French fries in the world." The side dish has also been described as "limp and lifeless," "dried and overcooked looking," and "greasy." We get the drift.

9. Hubcap Grill

Hubcap Grill is a regional chain with just three outlets, so you may be forgiven for not having had the opportunity to sample its menu. Nevertheless, the burger joint does make its fries from freshly-cut potatoes so we felt that we had to give it a spot on our list. While there's little information out there about the restaurant's fry preparation process, there's little doubt that it offers imaginative variations of the popular side dish.

Some of the options on the Hubcap Grill menu include Buffalo fries smothered in blue cheese and wing sauce or country fries with cream gravy and bacon bits. For more adventurous diners, there are the hell fries with cayenne and chili powder, sriracha mayo sauce, and jalapeños, as well as the affectionately-named stinky fries with a splash of malt vinegar and garlic salt.

The community reception to the Hubcap Grill french fries has been lukewarm, suggesting that while they aren't bad, they aren't showstoppers either. Although the fries are repeatedly described as "good," they mostly seem overshadowed by other Hubcap Grill menu items. This being said, one reviewer says that they love the chain's hell fries, adding that they are very spicy.

10. Becks Prime

With 10 locations across the Houston area and one in Dallas, Becks Prime is a regional chain that serves a huge range of dishes, from burgers and hot dogs to fresh salads. With a motto like "our only freezer is for the beer mugs," there's little doubt that all of the chain's offerings are made from fresh produce, and the restaurant's french fries are no exception. Hand-cut from Idaho potatoes, the chain's french fries come with optional melted cheddar or chili. Becks Prime also serves parmesan truffle fries, and sweet potato fries, although it's unclear if these also arrive at the restaurant fresh.

Stefan Modrich, who reviewed Becks Prime for The Leader News, seems particularly impressed with the franchise's parmesan truffle fries. "The parmesan had some extra zing and zeal to it, so much so that I found I had eaten them all before I had so much as glanced at the ketchup bottle on the table. The fries themselves weren't overly dry or oily, and had a slightly crunchy texture." A Yelp reviewer echoes this sentiment, saying, "The fries were also excellent with the right balance of parmesan and truffle flavor."

11. Hopdoddy

When it comes to fries, Hopdoddy offers some interesting choices, including hand-cut BBQ ranch fries, Buffalo fries, parmesan truffle fries, green chile queso fries, and nacho fries loaded with cheese, pico de gallo, avocado, and sour cream. There are also two types of sweet potato fries — including hot honey and sage — but the menu doesn't specify if these are also made from fresh potatoes. While we didn't find a lot of information about the restaurant's fry preparation process, it's likely that it involves frying sliced Kennebec potatoes in Mel-Fry oil.

The community seems happy with the Hopdoddy fires. One french fry enthusiast says, "Never have enjoyed French fries like I did here. Never ate so many fries as I did here!" Patrons seem particularly impressed with the restaurant's parmesan truffle fries, with one reviewer exclaiming, "GET THEM!" and another highlighting that they are "the real star" of the show. One happy patron elaborates, "Perfect for sharing (or not! Lol). Our waiter, Michael, gave us an awesome tip to try it with a side of chile green queso. Trust me, your life will change and your tastebuds will be taken outta this world!"

12. Dick's Drive-In

With nine locations in the Washington area, it's only fitting that Dick's Drive-In french fries are made from Washington potatoes. Hand-cut daily on premises, the fries are fried in high oleic sunflower oil. With so much thought and preparation, it's unfortunate that customers seem to find the accompaniment underwhelming.

Daryl, who reviewed the chain for Sodafry, says that while the fries tasted alright, they were overly greasy. "They cut and soak the potatoes to remove some of the starch, but from what I can tell they don't double-drop the fries. Without that step it's almost impossible to obtain a crispy exterior. It also causes the fries to soak up the cooking grease," he explains. Sarah Jackson reviewed the chain for Business Insider with similar results — the caveat here being that for some reason she only tried the food 30 minutes after purchasing it. "The fries lost all semblance of crispiness and became soggy from the condensation in the bag. They were cold but tasted decent," she writes.

The burger chain's very specific potato choice landed it in hot water at the end of 2022 due to the state's potato shortage. After the restaurant replaced its spuds with other potato varieties, some patrons noticed the difference, as explained by The Seattle Times. Recognizing the problem, representatives for Dick's Drive-In even Tweeted, "Thank you for your patience as we make it through this week and if you get a fry that isn't satisfying please bring it back for a replacement."