We began this article intent on finding the five best fries in Coastal Virginia, only to realize that when it comes to fries, considering “best” is asking for an argument. There are places and occasions for slender shoestring fries and others for fat, stubby “chips.” We can talk waffle fries or steak fries, simply salted or dusted with a bourgeoisie flavor powder. Is a sweet potato fry allowed to hang out with real French fries? And at what point does something leave the realm of cheese fries and become poutine? Discarding the idea of “best” to focus on “favorite,” these picks truly give the name of “French fry” its proper golden glory. We dare not determine “best” for you, but we are confident in recommending this fistful of fries in the 757.
Norfolk’s Grilled Cheese Bistro has long been a mecca for grilled cheese devotees. But there is more here than a heavenly chorus of delicious sandwiches. GCB’s generous sides of hand-cut fries are available tossed with several finishes. Options include chimichurri, cinnamon-cayenne, sriracha or smoked sea salt. It’s hard to choose … but it’s even harder not to finish them all yourself.
If you enjoy a cozy, rooftop dining experience, chances are you’ve been to Norfolk’s Supper. But what you might not realize is that this Norfolk favorite offers parmesan truffle fries on their newest tapas-style menu. These well heeled fries provide the distinctly rich flavor of truffle oil without being obnoxious about it. The difficulty of finding a truffle fry with a balanced flavor-ratio of truffle to potato is well-documented, but Supper takes a wonderfully calculated swing at it with these fries.
The rough gravel parking lot and fishing-shed exterior of this waterside gem belies the delicious comfort food to be found inside. At The Barking Dog guests are seated at wooden tables on a covered deck, in perfect company with the docks and brightly painted boats bobbing just beyond the restaurant. The fries here have a deep caramel color on the outside, giving way with a crunch to a pillowy-soft interior. For the most authentic “fish-fry fries” to go with your popcorn shrimp or hotdog, head to Hampton for this well-kept secret.
At once a butcher shop, cafe and home to long-time pop-up restaurant Codex, Pendulum seems to excel at everything—including fries. The French fries at Pendulum are truly addictive. They’re simple (salt, pepper, perhaps a hint of thyme) and on the stouter side—perfect for scooping up heaps of the smoked garlic aioli with which they are sold. There truly isn’t much more to be said about Pendulum’s fries except this: you’re not going to want to share.
Dive off 22nd street into Repeal at Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront, and you are transported to a dark, amber-shot world of burgers and bottles inspired by America’s Prohibition Era. The burgers are great (I mean, did you see this issue’s cover?), but so are the fries that come with the burgers—bacon-dusted or tossed with parmesan and truffle oil or sundried tomatoes. Searing hot, flavorful, thick-cut without losing on crispiness … these are the perfect sturdy fry.