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French fry lovers invited to ‘crawl’ around Phoenix Thursday night

LISTEN: Fry Crawl PHX - Frites Street food truck

PHOENIX — If you love French fries, Thursday night will be a great night to be in Phoenix.

Four restaurants and a food truck are participating in the Fry Crawl PHX tour. French fry lovers are invited to trek to the different restaurants to get five different takes on their favorite food.

It starts at 6 p.m. at Welcome Diner in Phoenix.

“They’re doing a French fry course at Welcome Diner,” said Flip Isard, co-owner of Frites Street food truck, which is participating in the event. “We’re also going to do a French fry course. Then everyone is going to pile into their cars and go to Phoenix Public Market and do a course. Then they’ll go down to the Biltmore and do Cristopher’s and then The Gladly to finish off. It’s five different courses … and five different takes on French fries.”

Isard and Braden Jones are the proud new owners of the Frites Street truck. From their vehicle, they serve only French fries. The call them chips or frites (pronounced Freets).

“A frite is a Belgian-style French fry,” Isard said. “They’re twice fried. Usually, they’re more regularly shaped and crisp and thick. They’re not shoestrings.”

They look like steak fries.

Jones and Isard had been working in restaurants. Jones had a 17-year restaurant career.

“I’ve worked in just about every position in a restaurant,” he said. “Front of the house, back of the house, bartending, serving, management — all of the above.”

Both men said they were tired of working for someone else. They said that one day their wives gave them an idea.

“We have to give credit to our wives. We’d all be sitting around at dinner and talking about restaurants,” said Jones. “They’d say, ‘You guys should just open a food truck!’ It’s one of the few things that went directly into their husband’s heads and stayed there. The food truck became the dream, and we worked for a few years to make it a reality.”

They said they saved up some money, and took out a loan for the rest. They paid $80,000 for a food truck that had a new engine with fewer than 500 miles on it. They decided to specialize in fries because they’re not aware of any other truck owners that are doing just that.

“We serve a classic Canadian Poutine,” said Isard. “Poutine literally translates to ‘mess.’ It pretty much means gravy and cheese over French fries with a cured smoked meat of some kind.”

Theirs has brown cherry gravy and hickory smoked cheese curds among the toppings.

“We’re doing a Mexican street corner frite with chili lime mayo, roasted fresh corn and a little hot cheese over top,” Isard said.

They also offer a Caesar salad frite. The two joked that it’s healthier and has “a few” calories, but they said with a smile, “Don’t fact check us on that!”

Isard and Jones are happy with the way their new business is going so far.

“It’s going really well. The response to the new food has been phenomenal,” Jones said.