I work at a local restaurant (The Green Line Grill) that fresh cuts every fry. I have to call shenanigans on what the CEO said about freezing them being necessary. As our patrons will tell you, our fries are amazing, always crispy outside, soft inside. It takes all of 15 minutes to cut a 50 pound box of potatoes into the best fries I've ever had. And we don't even have a freezer, so obviously they are miss informed about how fries work. "Belgian style"? More like cheapest way to make a buck. If I were this guy I wouldn't be so quick to insult Belgium.
I went to French Fry Heaven on my recent trip to Colorado Springs and I was very disappointed with the taste of the fries. To be honest I can make better fries in my oven with Ore Ida. Sorry Scott that is the truth.
Twice cooked fries or nothing for me. If I want Ore Ida's I will make them at home.
I have to be honest, that was terrific writing! I write as an avocation myself and have nothing, but respect for the craft. I hope you don't mind my adding a couple of thoughts. First, we were born at a vegan festival, so we have stayed as true to our roots as is possible, serving a 95% vegetarian menu and gluten free fries and canola oil. Pretty sure we are GMO free too, but we are still studying that. We also spent years in developing our sauce and spice combination, tons that no sane person would ever have figured out, like our Cheezyburger which taste just like a burger, but use no beef or beef flavor. Incidentally, our fries don't have artificial ingredients either. I, like you, hate that. As too the frozen vs fresh cut discussion, yep, we had that talk too. We actually sat down with our mentor who own a Belgian fry stand in NY and got great guidance as to why frozen. First, in order to get a Belgian style fry, you have to double dip them. If they are fresh, they just saturate with oil and never turn crispy on the outside and soft on the inside (just soft/soft or crisp/crisp. Incidentally, from your comment about the soft fries at CS, sounds like one of the kids may have dropped the ball and only did the single fry, you’ll have to let us make that up to you. Next as every batch of potatoes is inconsistent, the result flavor is inconsistent. That drives customers crazy in her store. Next to last is the cost factor, cutting requires labor costs and waste, which either nails the customer or the owner; neither being a win. Last is as she said, it’s a red herring. Lots of people bought the “fresh cut" corporate tag line that big business rolled out there and truthfully in a single fry it does make a difference. However, when it comes to Belgian style there is zero flavor difference. I should point out that even if we did fresh cut and do our own 12 hour brine, we'd still freeze them to ensure we got that crisply on the outside, soft on the inside fries with light oil, rather than a limp oil bomb that gets dubbed "fresh."
As to the franchising part, yep, we think we have something pretty cool and we think we can make a lot of people money with the idea. You have to understand that a franchiser makes hardly anything off allowing someone to franchise and use all of their intellectual property, R&D, recipes and hard work. Franchisee don’t pay that much. As to my putting the word out about us offering our franchise at one of the lowest franchise fees in the industry, in order to grow, I have to do that. Business is not a sin, sinful business is a sin. We treat our franchisees as partners, we give them our stuff and effort non-stop and we make a living doing so. It’s fair, upfront and honest. Not a bad way to do business. The unfortunate thing about negative articles, is it really only injures the local franchisee who is a local business person trying to make their way. In this case, George is one of the most passionate sincere people on the planet and he puts in an amazing amount of work to keep his customers satisfied.
As to the social media, we do something that almost no one in any sized industry does, and that is we allow our local folks to have total access to their social media. When you write them, they write back, not me. They can and do, George and his team from Colorado Springs are some of the best at it, post the most important pictures that go up there, that of their Happy Souls. I did start posting some of my own stuff too about a month ago, but I think that is good for some brand continuity. If you’ve noticed I post a business thing less than twice a month. I don’t think that is unreasonable. We also do post some of our in house graphics and fry pics, but we are proud of the work we put in there and think it’s some really neat stuff.
As my next to last point, I think you can look at your writing and my French Fry Heaven very similarly. You can start out writing a blog on a site for which you are proud, which becomes popular and picked up by other sites, which gets picked up by magazines or newspapers who pay you for the right to reprint. If I am in your shoes, I feel pretty good about the popularity of my idea and am pretty comfortable in the value of it that people are paying me for. I feel the same about French Fry Heaven. When I was traveling from town to town in my van selling our fries at festivals and fairs I was pretty darn excited when it turned people on. Are fries the healthiest thing on the planet? Eh. But we do everything we can with ours to make them so and after all they are a fun indulgence. Why got out for gourmet fries, when you can stay at home and make normal fries at home? Why go out for a burger, pizza, fish taco, cheese sandwich, sub, steak, beer or anything else?
As my last point, if you go to our site, check out our mission, actually talk to anyone here or in charge of that store you are going to discover that French Fry Heaven has a cornerstone of charitable service. If a perspective franchisee is not into it, we don’t bring them on. If a perspective Taste Bud doesn’t have it as a background, they are not hired. It is written in stone and we do not deviate from that. We had the opportunity to open in the West years ago and the guy offered our little business almost $1M in franchise fees on the agreement that we strike the charitable service obligation from our agreement; we turned him down. Now we sure could have used a million bucks, that’s for sure, but this is in our heart. So you know, our franchisees can’t just scratch some corporate check and call that charitable service. The only thing that is counted towards their charitable expectation is the donation of time and food. They choose the local charity, they do the work and it is expressly written in the documentation that they should do everything possible to take no credit. Do you know another company that states that as a mantra? Do they right thing and take no credit?
I will say that the one thing I really came away with from your article and some of the comments it attracted, is that the criticisms and concerns were fairly laid out, which tell me a lot about your character and the kind of people who read your work. I am going to call on that sense of fairness and ask you and all of your commenters to contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time for you to give us a second or first go around, make sure the team is hitting on all cylinders, to come in for a full sampling of all of our fries, on our dime. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to invest their time and writing to point out where we may have dropped the ball and I hope that you will extend that willingness to giving us a fair chance to get it right.
Regardless, thanks for taking the time to look into French Fry Heaven and keep on writing; you’ve got style!
French Fry Heaven
(The fg stands for Fry Guru)
For those looking to find a much better option, as the reviewer suggests, here's Potato Potato's location guide and menu:
Why the hell would anyone pay good money to become a franchisee just to sell pre-made frozen french fries - one of the easiest food items to make from scratch? This is wrong on so many levels. Why not just open a liquor store and be done with it, sell to the addicts, no cooking required, easy money.
Better fries at the Mediterranean Cafe on Kiowa.
Find out what the fries are fried in. GMO soy? The potatoes? Are they sprayed with fungicides and roundup?
This is our favorite Thai place in town! Awesome food without braking the bank, and the staff is always wonderful!
My family ate at the Woodland Park location last summer. My step- daughter brought in a script for a play, and she forgot it. Mr. Serrano was very kind, and he mailed it to our house. That was darn good service.
Give them time. The best chefs are often not the best business people, and I have definitely found this to be true with Serranos.
Helpful and honest review. Thanks. I won't bother going there.
A good initiative. Mutant varieties will show up long term effects. Probably some times worst effects on humans.
Sorry folks. I was in Denver last weekend and did tapas and this place was a poor example of a tapas restaurant.
Charcuterie- seriously? Bologna, corned beef, sliced cheese, grain mustard from a jar.
Meatballs way too salty. Eggplant- seriously under cooked.
Good stuff- scallops were nice and I got the impression the "chef" spent some time on that recipe. The lightly breaded and fried goat cheese was quite enjoyable.
Martinis were half the size I am used to seeing at a place that devotes its self to being a martini bar.
$100 (with tip) for 2 with no dessert is very disappointing. I gave a couple tips (I am not getting an attitude but I have a diverse restaurant background) and the owner was very nice. Server was nice but should have pointed out the items on the tapas such as the meats and cheeses instead of playing a guessing game,
She never had scallops before this job? Really? Ok fine but let me know what's on the plate instead of having to refer back to the menu.
I don't see it working past 9 months. I have to believe the lease $ is high though their food costs/liquor costs are low.
I get the feeling it's their first foray into the hospitality industry,
It's a tough pill for me to swallow after going to Osteria de Marco in LODO Denver last weekend where most all their meats and cheeses are house made and their wine list is awesome not mention their bartenders.
I wish them luck but there's much to learn. I feel bad if folks seriously think this is 5 star worthy.
My first Mongolian BBQ was at another USAF town, Belleville, IL, near Scott AFB. It's a bit of gimmick. Such places are popular in military areas where quantity matters more than quality. It's an All You Can Eat (AYCE) eatery for Asian food, healthier than American AYCE joints, but still, massive calorie intake is never wise eating.
The new Over Easy on N. Nevada in University Village is an awesome eatery. GO.
Those caramels seriously have to be some of the best I have ever had! SO GOOD!
I started visiting Special Grounds because it's close to my house. Used it as a meeting place for my hiking group, and they were all thrilled with the warm welcome and personal attention- one woman declared she would never set foot in a Starbuck's again!
Thank You Matthew for such a nice article about the Ivywild Tap. Your always welcomed.
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