THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Do you want fries with your fries?
If you're the kind of fine diner who believes a burger is nothing more than an appetizer for an order of fries, you might want to drop by the newest place on the food court of The Woodlands Mall.
French Fry Heaven serves fries, a whole menu of fries, nothing but fries. And if you think the only way to cook fries involves boiling sliced russet potatoes in vats of grease, encrusting the mess in salt and sticking it under a heat lamp, think again.
"We have over fifty flavors and seasonings," said Kim Davis, who owns the kiosk with her husband, Mark. "The key is they're Belgian fried, which means they're double fried."
The fries themselves come in two varieties, the standard russet potato and the sweet potato. Just like so many other entrees in the world of great cuisine, perhaps the key ingredient is the sauce, or in this case, the toppings.
Some of the offerings on the menu taste like entrees. Others taste like desserts.
"I would say the favorite is the loaded baked potato, which tastes just like a loaded baked potato," Davis said. "It has ranch dressing, It has melted cheese. It has bacon and chives."
Another menu item imitates the taste of a cheeseburger, with melted cheese, mustard and ketchup. Elsewhere on the menu area fries slathered in barbecue sauce, mayonnaise and malt vinegar.
"We have one called the Festival, which has sugar on it and it tastes just like a funnel cake with vanilla icing on top," Davis said. "Very decadent."
The food kiosk in The Woodlands is the first Houston-area franchise for a national chain that hopes to expand into Sugar Land and west Houston. Its grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, but crowds of curious diners wandering around the food court were already sampling the fries the night before.
The chain's inspiration comes from similar small shops found throughout France, where customers buy fries much as they buy rolls in neighborhood bakeries.
"I'm half French," said Sammy Moss, who runs a T-shirt kiosk next to French Fry Heaven. "I grew up in France. And honestly, those fries are very close to what we get in north of France."