Top Spots for French Fries in Southwest Illinois

The simple potato- satisfying, iconic, a pairing for entrees everywhere and- mashed, fried, or stewed- a staple on American menus nationwide. And what potato rests at the hallowed pinnacle of deliciousness? French fries of course!

Whether you’re into steak fries, shoestrings, curlies, waffle, crinkle-cuts, or tater tots, it’s a fair assumption you’ve picked up a preference. They come breaded, drenched in cheese, dipped, dolloped, put between a bun, and under chili. Fry enthusiasts argue: do we like fries for fries? Or are they simply a method of delivery for that sweet, sweet sauce?

Ask a Midwesterner and the topic is hot: what goes on fries? Ketchup? Ranch dressing? BBQ sauce or gravy? Do you like your fries dipped in ice-cream or bathed in queso? There are a thousand ways to enjoy French fries- here are the Top 10 Best French Fry Spots in southwestern Illinois:

#1 Old Herald Brewery & Distillery, Collinsville

Once home to the Collinsville Herald newspaper, Old Herald Brewery & Distillery now serves as a brewery, distillery, and restaurant. Order the Brewer's Loaded Fries which are drenched in beer cheese sauce, bourbon BBQ, sour cream and topped with your choice of pulled pork or IPA brisket. This appetizer can really qualify as a full meal and pairs well with any of the Old Herald beers on draft.

According to surveys, classic ketchup is Illinois’ most popular dipping sauce!

2. Village Inn – Alton

Serving far more than just breakfast, Village Inn in Alton has great diner lunch and dinner and long cut, breaded fries that hit the spot! Like ranch to dip your fries in? Village Inn makes their own creamy ranch dressing that’s just right- dip a fry and get transported to Midwestern heaven!

3. Nick’s Pancake House- Jerseyville

Hash browns, American fries, and consistently delicious breaded French fries at Nick’s Pancake House are sure to satisfy your diner cravings. Pair with their homemade ranch dressing, dips, or a bowl of chili for a taste that feels like home.

Mousalli's Prime Garlic Parmesan Fries

4. Moussalli’s Prime- Edwardsville

Known for a host of unique fine dining options, Moussalli’s Prime doesn’t skimp out in the fry department. Try the garlic-parmesan French fries for a delightful twist on a humble potato classic that feels as upscale as the rest of Moussalli’s menu!

Sgt. Pepper's Cafe Fries

5. Sergeant Pepper’s Café - Edwardsville

Named after the famous 1967 Beatles record, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Sgt. Pepper's Cafe. Pepper's Cafe in Edwardsville has a nostalgic 1970’s vibe and offers several varieties of cheese fries, chili fries, and horseshoes. Never had a horseshoe? If you like burgers, fries, and especially cheese, you can’t go wrong!

6. Route 66 Creamery- Hamel

Jump into Route 66 nostalgia at this roadside creamery in Hamel, serving up classic American favorites like chili, cheese dogs, hand-pressed steak burgers and fries, and old-fashioned ice-cream. Route 66 Creamery also has creative concretes, cones, malts, shakes, and floats which go great with 50’s French fries- dip them in the icy treats to create the perfect amalgam of sweet and salty goodness!

FRY FACT: Americans love a variety of dipping sauces on French fries including: ketchup, cheese, ranch dressing, mayo, tartar sauce, bbq sauce, mustard, tabasco sauce, tomato sauce, relish, gravy, sriracha sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cocktail sauce, ice-cream or shakes, chili, Pico de Gallo, artichoke dip, hummus, and queso- the sauces vary greatly from state to state- which sauce do you enjoy most on yours?

The Uptown Tavern's Skinny Fries

7. The Uptown Tavern- Carlinville

Farm to table and a home-town vibe make every menu item at The Uptown Tavern special. Locally sourced and made with care, Uptown’s tavern fries are shoelace-cuts- crispy, coated, and paired with classic buffalo sauce, warm beer cheese, bacon bits, and freshly-chopped green onion.

8. Cleveland Heath- Edwardsville

Gourmet comfort foods prepared with upscale attention to detail by award-winning chefs make Cleveland Heath an always memorable dining experience. Cleveland Heath mixes Midwest and Californian cuisine and the French fries are a culmination of both shoestring fries and sweet potato fries. Try the Lomo Saltado breakfast fries comprised of steak, peppers, onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, on a bed of fries topped with over-easy eggs!

9. King- Louie’s Drive-In- Wood River

A local favorite and listed in the Top 50 American Drive-Ins, King Louie’s in Wood River serves up comfort food with nostalgia. Cheeseburgers, patty melts, and sandwiches pair deliciously with King Louie’s famous potato plank fries- cut with the skin still on- and topped with your choice of chili, cheese, sour cream, bacon, jalapenos, or BBQ. Get the Everything fries with all of the above for a truly Route 66 Drive-In dish!

FRY FACT: Thick-cut steak fries are Illinois’ top-rated French fry!

Old Herald Fries

10. George's Local Brew

It’s kind of a no-brainer to order the fries at George’s Local Brew in Jerseyville- with steak, sweet potato, and skinny cut, George’s fries come dreamily salted and seasoned. You can also get nacho cheese sauce for dipping or even dip a fry in George’s house-made-daily soup! Who says you can’t dip your fries in soup?

Honorable mentions:

Teri’s Route 66 Diner - Granite City
Village Drive-In - Bunker Hill
The Loading Dock - Grafton
Post Commons - Alton