These are no ordinary french fries. Across Missouri, chefs are putting a hot new spin on the humble spud. Sure, you could dip ’em in ketchup, but these restaurants are bringing something much more exciting than that to the table.

All across the country, plain french fries are morphing into tasty creations laden with an assortment of toppings and seasonings and accompanied by flavorful dipping sauces. Usually found at fast-food restaurants, diners, bars, and pubs, fries are shifting to center stage at other eateries.

The variations are unique to each restaurant. Some have added the healthier option of sweet potato fries to their menus. Others have created global cuisine options such as carne asada fries, an American Southwestern dish that includes marinated steak with guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. No matter how you slice them, fries are reaching new levels of refinement thanks to creative chefs around the country.

Fries come in all shapes and sizes: chips, steak, wedges, shoestring, waffle, spiral cut, straight, curly, and even crinkle cut. And whether they’re fried or baked, loaded with toppings, simply seasoned, or served plain and crispy, french fries are the perfect complement to any sandwich or entree.

So whether you crave the simplicity of classic, crisply cooked fries or a more elaborate creation, here are several noteworthy places to find new fry favorites around Missouri.

Black Sheep employee Taylor Johnston serves up the You Are Smokin’ fries, which are apple and hickory smoked, served with pulled pork and sautéed fresh jalapeños, and drizzled with chipotle barbecue and organic Baba cheese sauces.

Black Sheep • Springfield

209 East Walnut Street • 417-319-5905 2160 • West Chesterfield Boulevard
417-368-0227 2420 • East Sunshine Street • 417-351-3595 •

Family-owned Black Sheep restaurant is a popular choice for Springfieldians. In fact, it’s become so popular that there are now three locations in the city.

Co-owner Mike Jalili opened the first Black Sheep in November 2015, and the restaurant has been satisfying customers with amazing hand-cut french fries ever since. “Our fries are nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and have great flavors,” he says. A lot of love and work goes into the fries, from blanching and freezing to cooking them and coating them to give them a crispy texture, Mike says. There are even special refrigerators designed for fry preparation and storage. That’s how serious Black Sheep is about its fries.

Hungry customers at Black Sheep enjoy many french fry options: salt and vinegar; sea salt and pepper; apple and hickory smoked fries with pulled pork, sautéed fresh jalapeños, chipotle barbecue sauce, and organic Baba cheese sauce; and garlic truffle fries with freshly grated Parmesan and smoky garlic mayonnaise. A crowd favorite is the smoked fries, which are prepared in a smoker for almost two hours. Black Sheep serves its fries with a variety of house-made sauces: sriracha mayo, ranch, chipotle ketchup, honey mustard, truffle mayo, and the restaurant’s special “baaahd sauce.” There is even a dessert option made from french fries: sweet potato fries with marshmallow cream and pecans.

Beer Kitchen • Kansas City

435 Westport Road • 816-389-4180 •

In 2010, Mark Kelpe opened Beer Kitchen in Kansas City with a list of carefully curated beers and a menu of locally ground gourmet burgers, crispy hand-cut fries, and comfort food. While conducting research for the concept, he discovered the people of Belgium have a fondness for dipping Belgian frites into mayonnaise, so Mark and staff developed a variety of flavored aioli dipping sauces.

The hand-cut fries are Belgian-style, truffle-Parmesan, and sweet potato. Mini, small, and jumbo sizes please customers who want an individual order and those who want to share. Seven aioli dipping sauces complement the fries: roasted garlic, smoked chipotle, sweet Thai chili, malt vinegar, horseradish, smoked bacon, and basil veganese.

In a nod to the French Canadian appetizer “poutine,” Beer Kitchen serves three types of smothered cheese fries: Gorgonzola Fries with smoked bacon and bleu cheese fondue; Stockyard Fries with smoked brisket burnt ends, pickle relish, and gouda fondue; and vegetarian New Jersey Disco Fries with melted provolone and mushroom gravy.

Fries are made fresh every day. “We dry-age our Idaho potatoes for four weeks and then employ a triple-process fry technique,” Mark says, noting the preparation is what sets his fries apart from others.

Fry up some more!

If those aren’t enough flavorful fries to sate your appetite, save these 10 places in your phone’s map application to try next time you’re close.

Addison’s • Columbia

Check out the original colorful paintings on the walls while you nosh on the sweet potato chips and dip served with a creamy horseradish sauce or Mojito fries tossed in olive oil with garlic, lime, and cilantro.

709 Cherry Street

4005 Frontgate Dr 573-607-2129

Glenn’s Cafe • Columbia

The South Smothered Fries are worth a special trip. They’re crispy home-cut fries, white cheddar cheese, Cajun-spiced braised pork, creamy coleslaw, Carolina Mustard barbecue sauce, pickled onions, and an optional fried egg.

29 South Eighth 573-447-7100

J’s Burger Dive • Hamilton

Check out this busy place for flavored fries with a kick, in garlic pepper, Cajun, or ranch.

116 North Davis Street816-583-1133 Facebook: J’s Burger Dive

Fric & Frac • Kansas City

Try the Italian fries, which are wedges hand-cut from baked potatoes, deep fried, and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and Parmesan, or go for the Suzy Q’s hand-spun curly fries cut and cooked to order and served with house-made chipotle ketchup.

1700 West 39th Street 817-753-6102

The Brick • Kansas City

Try tater tots topped with cheese sauce, spicy beans, jalapenos, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream, and salsa; Garlic Parmesan Fries tossed in roasted garlic oil and parsley and served with marinara; or Buffalo Bleu Cheese Fries with buffalo sauce, green onions, and bleu cheese.

1727 McGee Street 816-421-1634 •

Galloway Grill • Springfield

Galloway Grill started as a tavern and pool room, and they want you to feel free to “come as you are” to taste the house fries, beer-battered fries, sweet potato fries, or the Monster Chili Cheese Fries, which are made up of Mom’s chili and spicy queso piled on top of house fries. 

4211 South Lone Pine Avenue  • 417-882-5300

Schlafly Tap Room • St. Louis

Snack on Poutine fries with grain mustard gravy and cheese curds or the hand-cut house fries served with spicy ketchup, green peppercorn, or truffle aioli dipping sauces. 

2100 Locust Street 314-241-BEER (2337)

The Shaved Duck • St. Louis

The Smothered Fries come with pulled rib and pork covering hand-cut fries, topped with cheese sauce and sharp cheddar.

2900 Virginia Avenue 314-776-1407

Top photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

Article originally published in the June/July 2018 issue of Missouri Life. It was updated in May 2024.