Cheap Eats - The Fry Guy in Poncey-Highland

Chef Andrew Long's Belgian frites join the street food fold

Wednesday February 2, 2011 09:00 am EST

Whether it's a lunchtime taco on a random Buckhead street corner or post-show scoop of local ice cream in the Tabernacle's parking lot, street food officially has a presence in Atlanta. The Atlanta Street Food Coalition and the events at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market have done wonders for our mobile food businesses, and lately it seems like a new one sprouts up every month. North Highland Avenue is quickly becoming a destination for portable meals. Last year's breakout star, King of Pops, is just a block or so away from cult-favorite chef Hector Santiago's weekend burrito stand, El Burro Pollo.

Chef Andrew Long loves the trend so much that he's started slinging Belgian-style frites at his new stand. Located close to the entrance of Café di Sol — where Long works — the Fry Guy (www.facebook.com/atlfryguy) is the latest addition to this quirky slice of street life in Poncey-Highland.

Long had the idea for a roadside french fry stand for a while, and a trip to Pommes Frites, a Belgian-style frites spot in New York, cemented the notion. A few months ago, the Fry Guy was born. The Fry Guy's fries are inspired by the fries Aria served alongside a rib-eye dish when Long worked there. Long hand-cuts Idaho potatoes — although he just purchased a fry cutter to make things easier on himself — and blanches them at a low temperature in peanut oil so they soften and the interior gets fluffy. He then fries them a second time to order until they are crispy. The fries are very similar to a steak fry, but a little thinner. They can be greasy, but that's most likely due to the bitterly cold weather, which Long says cools the oil — and the propane tank that fuels the fryer — too much. He expects the spring weather will make the temperature much easier to regulate — a key to good fries. A 10 to 12 ounce paper cone of golden fries plus one sauce costs $5 (extra sauces are 50 cents each). The sauces, of course, make the fries pop. There are about 10 different ones such as red curry ketchup, malt vinegar aïoli, horseradish mayo, and a sauce inspired by Pommes Frites, "sidewalk sauce" (half ketchup, half mayo with chopped raw onion on top). The most popular sauce is the honey Sriracha mayo.

The stand only serves fries on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until the fries run out. However, Long has been working with local festival organizers and is also partnering with a friend who has a concession trailer to establish a late-night stand on Irby Avenue in Buckhead near Five Paces. One thing is certain: The Fry Guy is going places. Keep up with him on his Twitter account, @atlfryguy.

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