The Best Loaded Fries In AustinA few of our favorite potato-based meals.
French fries are undeniably one of the greatest ways to eat a potato. Sure, we love a good chip (or crisp, for you folks across the pond), but the heartiness of the fry lends itself to so many applications. Dipped in ketchup or aioli? Great. How about covered in meat, sauce, and cheese? Loaded fries are one of the best ways to turn everyone’s favorite snack into a full-fledged meal. Fortunately, the loaded fries in Austin come with all sorts of toppings—including brisket and queso, kimchi and bulgogi, or even pastrami and swiss cheese. Which means you can eat a different loaded fry every day this week and never feel like you ate the same meal twice.
B.D. Riley’s vaguely Irish take on a classic Canadian staple is a strong contender for best poutine Austin (there’s not a ton of competition). Thick cut, crispy potatoes act as a bed for stretchy curds of melted cheese and a rich Guinness gravy. The substantial slices of steak on top are just the savory icing on the proverbial poutine cake.
At Daygos, the focus is on San Diego-style burritos (and tacos). That means lots of carne asada, fries, and guac in just about every configuration you can think of. The carne asada is tender and well-seasoned, the salsas are spicy in all the right ways, and the fries tucked into everything are perfectly crispy. If you’re ready to forgo all social graces and find yourself knuckles deep in some potatoes, you can also get the Daygos Fries (carne asada loaded fries).
At R&B’s, you can get a delicious cheesesteak made with Texas ribeye on a fresh Amoroso roll with grilled onions and cheese whiz. Or, you can get all of that over a giant bed of crinkle-cut fries. Because sometimes you just want to get your hands a little messy. Either that or you want to share, to which we say: just order more. It’s worth it. You can also add on mushrooms, bell peppers, and jalapeños if you want to balance out your meal a little bit. At that point it’s basically a salad, right?
The loaded fries at South Austin’s Cuba512 come topped with your choice of meat—from Cuban classics like lechon asado or ropa vieja, to the equally-tasty picadillo and sauteed veggies. The fries here are really well-seasoned and crispy. We like to go with the lechon asado—the tangy, garlic-rich marinade coating the pork balances really well with all of the mozzarella and guacamole that cover the whole thing. Add on a little bit of salsa and it becomes the perfect plate.
Ray's BBQ & Fixin's
Ray’s BBQ is a small food trailer located in a dusty lot in Pflugerville, but their barbecue—and more specifically, their loaded fries—make it a spot you’ll want to visit again and again. It starts with a bed of thick, wedge-cut fries, covered with your choice of meat (the brisket is great), nacho cheese, and barbecue sauce. The brisket is incredibly tender, and the sauce is just bright enough to provide some nice contrast to the richness of all that melty cheese.
You may have heard about Golden Tiger for their excellent fried chicken sandwiches made with Asian-inspired flavors like gochujang mayo and sweet chili sauce—which we fully support as the centerpiece of your meal. But if you want to provide that sandwich with a little company, their Tiger Fries are packed full of unique flavors. House-made chili, barbecue sauce, cheese, pickled serrano, dill pickles, red onions, and a fried egg might sound like an unusual combination—and it is—but we found ourselves enjoying every bite.
Chi’Lantro has been consistently putting out their Korean-Mexican fusion food for over 10 years now, but what really sets themselves apart are their kimchi fries. They come covered in two types of cheese, caramelized kimchi, onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, sriracha, “magic sauce,” and a choice of Korean barbecue-inspired protein (we like it with ribeye). And if all of that sounds like something you’d rather shove your face into than your hands, you can even get the whole thing wrapped inside of a burrito.
Seoulju is best known for their excellent Korean fried chicken, but they also do some fun twists on Korean staples, like putting a giant scoop of sauteed beef bulgogi on a bed of waffle fries. There’s also kimchi, spicy mayo, sweet mustard, and ketchup on there, so it still feels somewhat in the french fry realm, despite the fun additions.
The Halal Bros
A lot of people probably know Halal Bros as late-night, post-bar food, with heaping bowls of rice, shawarma, kebab, and falafel, sold out of their downtown truck where it all started. Their loaded fries come with ketchup, white sauce, and hot sauce, and an optional meat add-on. We usually like to skip the ketchup and add gyro and chicken shawarma, but there’s no shortage of possibilities.
School House Pub
Our Canadian friends like to tell us that the only loaded fry worth eating is poutine. And while Austin isn’t particularly poutine-rich, there are a few that we do enjoy, like the Montreal fries from Schoolhouse Pub. They come covered in braised beef, garlic, and melted cheese. They’re rich and packed full of savory flavor. The menu claims that they’re “for sharing” but nobody’s going to know if you don’t.