French fries are always a great snack, whether you’re drinking or not. But definitely when drinking. This is a contentious issue, as everyone has their favorites, be it with skin on or off, crinkle or straight up, greasy, salty, with or without ketchup… but after months of extensive research (and a ballooning belly because of it) these are the fries that have made the cut.
Criteria? Consistency, of course. You don’t want to get the best fries one day and then come back and have them soggy and under-salted the next. They can’t be dripping wet with grease, but they still need an undeniable finger-licking goodness. They need to be just the right amount of crispy, but never burnt. They need to be the kind of fries that you just can’t stop eating; that you’ll place an order of to share and then place another just for yourself.
We set the bar high.
So, here they are:
The best fries in St. Paul, Minnesota.
10. The Nook
A classic St. Paul dive has the perfect fries to accompany their amazing and award-winning burgers. The sister restaurant, Shamrock’s, has the same recipes, so there are two St. Paul restaurants where you can go to enjoy them. They are big and beautiful and you won’t be able to stop until every last fry is finished. Maybe go bowling downstairs and snack between strikes?
The Nook | 492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116 | (651) 698-4347
9. The Bulldog
It’s hard to choose between the fries and the tater tots at the Bulldog Lowertown. But tots are just squat, fat fries anyway, right? Try them both. Both the fries and tots come seven different ways, including a Cajun-style that just might be the best. But might as well try a different style each time when you’re feeling the munchies, as you’re sure to never be disappointed. Pro tip: They’re available till 1am every night of the week.
The Bulldog | 237 E 6th St, St Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 221-0750
8. Tin Cup’s
This is a North End institution that knows its fried food. These fries are old-school crispy goodness, and when you want fries, you don’t need anything more than that. Your only regret might be discovering your willpower isn’t what you thought it was when you find the basket empty. They also offer sweet potato fries, an equally-satisfying option. The neighborhood boasts a lot of old-school eateries, but for fries, this is the place you want.
Tin Cup’s | 1220 Rice St, St Paul, MN 55117 | (651) 487-7967
7. Moscow on the Hill
The Moscow Fries are not traditional fries. They’re something of a cross between fries and potato chips; more like mini potato wedges than long and stringy. But the shape doesn’t matter. What matters is that they’re salty and savory, that they’re a little crisp on the outside and nice and soft in the middle, and that they’re covered in a generous amount of dill seasoning. It’s a portion big enough to share, or not, and the perfect complement to a night sipping vodka. Ypa!
6. Ward 6
Awesome in poutine, with Fish & Chips, or just side by side with a burger, the fries at Ward 6 embody exactly what makes this East Side bar so incredible: quality, simple, delicious ingredients that make for a memorable meal. There’s really nothing better than a salty snack when drinking beer, but if you’re a fan of dipping with dessert, the fries dunked into one of Ward 6’s adult milkshakes is, in a word, heaven.
Ward 6 | 858 Payne Ave, St Paul, MN 55130 | (651) 348-8181
5. The St. Paul Grill
At a place like the Saint Paul Grill, with its impeccable standards of service and product, it might seem like fries would get lost in the flow of filet mignon and martini glasses. Not the case. And you don’t even have to call them “frites” or wear a top hat to try them. The fries are a wonderful addition to any plate at St. Paul’s most decadent restaurant, or just have them on their own. The hand-cut Idaho fries are crispy and thin, but still hearty, well-seasoned bites that you don’t have to be a kid to love.
The St. Paul Grill | 350 N Market St, St Paul, MN 55102 | (651) 224-7455
4. Public Kitchen + Bar
The new menu was a needed change at this restaurant in Lowertown, and they’re wasting no time making their mark on the neighborhood food scene. These fries are consistently some of the very best; like fried mashed potato sticks in the best way possible: perfectly crispy on the outside, and soft, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. And they won’t leave you feeling greasy or overstuffed when you realize you need a second order.
Public Kitchen + Bar | 229 E 6th St, St Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 348-6456
3. Red Cow
This enormous plate of fries is meant to be shared, but you certainly don’t have to. These fries are cut thick and are nice and salty, without losing its wholesome potato soul. They are the crispy, still crackling fries that every child, and adult, dreams of. With a trio of sauces offered on the side, they’re a great quick bite, appetizer, or supplementary plate to any of Red Cow’s beloved burgers.
Thin, crispy and savory delicious. These are the fries you could eat a whole order of and not even realize it, and then want (need) more. They’re a great addition to any cocktail; light enough to save room for dinner but still satisfying if you’re just looking for a quick snack. The béarnaise sauce that comes with them might be the very best you’ll find outside of Paris, and it adds a gourmet touch that knocks ketchup off its pedestal. For a while, anyway.
Meritage | 410 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102 | (651) 222-5670
1. Amsterdam Bar and Hall
While Meritage was snapping at the heels of this downtown nightclub, Amsterdam’s skin-on, crispy, savory, covered-in-raw-onions French fry goodness takes the cake. They’re exactly what you want when you’re a little drunk and rocking out to live music at 1am, or still sober during happy hour, or just looking for a nice side with lunch. And then you add the sauces, like curry ketchup, garlic mayo, peanut satay, honey sambaal… so many choices that only enhance the experience and make your drunken mouth smile. Pro tip: They’re available until bar close.
Amsterdam Bar and Hall | 6 W 6th St, St Paul, MN 55102 | (612) 285-3112
For more on St. Paul restaurants, read this next: St. Paul’s 50 Best Restaurants (The ultimate list)