Everyone loves a side of french fries with that juicy burger, but sometimes these deep-fried carbs don’t get the credit they deserve. Now is the time to give credit where it’s due. Stop thinking fast food for french fries, and start thinking local grill or food truck with these inviting neighborhood picks. Charlotte’s got a lot to offer in the potato department, so treat yourself to the best around town.
2224 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28203
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This hole-in-the-wall neighborhood grill has topped the charts with its seasoned fries, as the 2011 Creative Loafing “Best French Fries” recipient. Order these award-winning fries with a cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon special on Thursdays. The seasoning includes just the right salty and spicy combination, making for very clean plates after the meal. Order them crispy or soft, as these fries are made in house and fresh for every plate that goes out. Come in to see what the hype is about.
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1921 Commonwealth Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.
As an iconic establishment dating back to 1954, the Penguin is a familiar pick to many Charlotte residents. The Penguin’s sweet potato fries put a twist on the regular potato. Most can agree that these are a sweeter version of typical burger side options, but The Penguin takes it a step further with a dash of cinnamon. Think that’s too much sweetness? It isn’t. Somehow, they have mastered this seasoning to make it one of the most balanced burger and fries combinations out there. This local favorite has been featured on “Diners, Dive-ins, and Drives” on the Food Network and “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel. This drive-in is clearly doing something right.
Pinky’s Westside Grill
1600 W Morehead St
Charlotte, NC 28208
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri and Sat – 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pinky’s Westside Grill has earned a spot in the heart of Charlotte’s food community. Serving up waffle fries topped with homemade pimento cheese, it quickly fired up competition with neighborhood grills. Accompany your Pimp’n fries with an additional scoop of chili or bacon bits. Can you think of a heartier starter out there? An order or two of this delicious appetizer won’t run up much of a tab as Pinky’s brings a new definition to affordable southern cooking. Menu options and prices stay within the range of three to 10 dollars.
Hours: For information on the truck’s hours of operation and locations, visit its
The Roaming Fork food truck spends its days traveling the city to serve citizens on lunch break. The truffle parmesan french fries are the most popular side item and once trying them, it’s clear to see why. With prices topping out at five dollars, these finger lickers will keep customers coming back for more. Roaming Fork also took the more common sweet potato fry and amped it up. Have you ever come across sweet potato chips? Look no further. Roaming Fork dishes out this unique option paired with a sweet chili sauce. Now that’s a potato at its finest. You might find yourself chasing this truck down the street just to have another taste.
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Fran’s Filling Station
2410 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28203
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fri and Sat – 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fran’s made a name for itself in the 2010 Charlotte Observer “Tournament of Fries.” These russet potatoes earned top place and with that, many fans to follow. The restaurant’s doors have been swinging ever since with crowds of locals looking to try a bite of these acclaimed delights. Order some of the best fries in the city with styles ranging from regular, fancy salt, blue cheese and herbs or with Fran’s secret spicy sprinkle. Whichever variety you choose, prices stay low at only five or six dollars per order.
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Kate has literally lived up to her college mascot the Soaring Seahawk, as a flight attendant and graduate of UNC Wilmington, with a degree in Sociology and Communication Studies. When she is not soaring above clouds or at her base assignment in Roanoke, she resides in her hometown of Charlotte. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.