A comprehensive(ish) ranking of West Michigan french fries



An example of delicious french fries (although I would need to taste them to really know their merit)

America’s favorite snack food—or at least mine—is french fries. 

There are many, many variations of this classic dish, but I am very opinionated about which ones I like and don’t. So, for all of my fellow french fry aficionados, a comprehensive list of the best and worst fried potatoes that West Michigan has to offer.

Starting off weak, we have the worst selection—and yes, it is a selection—of french fries. These abysmal examples of fries are available at your local Red Robin restaurant. If you are on the hunt for horrible french fries in Grand Rapids, wrap around the Barnes & Noble entrance to Woodland Mall and look for the jarring red brick.

Not only does Red Robin offer steak fries—the worst of all available fry varieties—it is incredibly difficult to make the outside of these fries crispy enough to counteract the mush of the center of the fry; but, the other option that they offer is more horrid: sweet potato fries.

Sweet potato fries are disgusting. Period. I was once called a witch for that opinion, but I stand by it. The texture is too stiff for my taste, and even excessive additions of salt cannot counter the overpowering sweetness of the so-called “potato.”

Next on the list, only better because of an add-on, are Culver’s. Culver’s french fries are crinkle-cut and pasty-white. They are all potato and no fry. Too soggy, soaked in oil, and flavorless, even dunking them in barbeque sauce cannot save them. What can save them, however, is a special request: french fries extra crispy.

This request will turn your bland, soggy, pasty fries into crispy, golden-brown treats.

There are many, many variations of this classic dish, but I am very opinionated about which ones I like—and don’t.

Third, and middle (very average fries, unsurprisingly), are McDonald’s. McDonald’s french fries are the basis for all shoestring french fries. They are not superb; they are not disgusting. They are, however, the object of the majority of my weekday cravings, which increases their standing substantially in my mind.

They are perfectly salty, and although there are always a few soggy fries in each order, they are still enjoyable. McDonald’s french fry level is the level that all fries aspire to reach before adding their own personal twist.

At number two on the list is a West Michigan original: NOCO Provisions. NOCO has the perfect traditional french fry with a twist: the seasoning. Their fries are the perfect size to achieve the pinnacle of french fry perfection: a crispy outside and a soft inside, perfectly balanced.

What makes this fry truly special, though, is the seasoning. Although I do not know exactly what spices it includes, the seasoning is perfectly salty and brings out the natural deliciousness of the potato without being overpowering. They are almost perfect, but not quite.

Not quite because I am biased. I will forever prefer shoestring french fries over all others, and that is why my favorite french fry in West Michigan can be found at Freddy’s. Freddy’s french fries are perfect. Every single fry is crispy to perfection, golden brown, and glistening with oil, straight out of the frier.

Their seasoning is impeccable, a mix of salt, pepper, and season salt; but not only do they offer it to you on their fries, but they also offer it in a shaker to be added to fries as desired. Freddy’s fries are the top tier of french fry perfection, and I have ordered them more times than I like to admit.

So to all of my fellow fry lovers, do yourself a favor. Bypass one red restaurant for another, and try Freddy’s french fries. Do that, and even if they aren’t your favorite snack today, they will be soon.