In a perfect world, we could eat French fries all the time with no discernible damage to our waistlines or our cholesterol counts, but for most of us, the offerings of Frites Street are a once-in-a-while treat.
But Flip Isard and Braden Jones, owners of the gourmet French fry food truck, like it that way.
“We’re not a ‘you can eat it seven days a week’ kind of dish,” says Isard. “It’s like your favorite doughnuts or your favorite cake – when you get it, you get really excited about it. We like trying to be that reward or special-occasion kind of dish.”
Frites Street, which has been in operation since early April, sells gourmet European-style pommes frites in a variety of ways. There’s the basic cone of fries in two sizes; roasted garlic Parmesan fries; cheese fries; and a rotating assortment of entree fries, including duck confit poutine, carne asada; vegan black bean soyrizo chili cheese; and more.
Everything is made from scratch, including the selection of dipping sauces, which includes stout honey mustard, jalapeno ketchup and roasted onion aioli.
“If I put a basket of French fries in front of you, you have a notion of what a French fry’s supposed to be,” says Jones. “And when you bite into one of our French fries, it’s going to change your whole paradigm on what a good French fry is.
“If you can put something in front of people that they’re familiar with and you impress them with it, you’ve really accomplished something, and so that’s what we’re trying to achieve: simple, approachable food that’s just going to blow people away when they actually eat it.”
Isard and Jones both have long-standing passions for food. Isard has taken cooking classes and worked in restaurants for years; Jones also has a strong restaurant background.
“You don’t spend that many years working in restaurants without becoming a food enthusiast and also someone with a discerning palate, not only for dishes that are being served to you, but dishes that you yourself are preparing,” says Jones.
The pair met while working at Zinburger at Biltmore Fashion Park a number of years ago; they kept in touch while Jones and his wife lived in a number of cities around the country before returning to the Valley.
Arizona is still a relatively new market for food trucks; Isard estimates that Frites Street is the state’s 80th truck (by comparison, Los Angeles County alone has 4,000 trucks, he says).
They chose French fries as their product because no one else in the state was doing it, and because of the popularity of the dish.
“Everybody eats French fries,” Isard says. “Adults eat French fries, kids eat French fries, drunk people eat French fries, people at parties eat French fries, and it’s not been done. It’s gluten-free, it’s vegan to start with, so it’s extremely approachable. We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re just doing it better than anybody else is going to do it.”
The Frites Street truck can be found out and about in the Valley at farmers’ markets, office complexes, festivals and other special events; the schedule is posted on their website, fritesstreet.com, and their Facebook page, facebook.com/fritesstreet.
In addition to those types of appearances, Isard and Jones would also like to increase their private event business, especially weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.
“We also have an eye toward making a name as not only a French fry truck, but culinarians that you can call and have a custom menu designed for your special event,” says Jones.
And since Isard grew up in a kosher Conservative home, he is well-versed in kashrut requirements.
“Tell me what you need and we can do it,” he says.
He says he remembers the food as one of the best parts of his own bar mitzvah, and wants to bring that joy and excitement to private events around the Valley.
“Food is always going to be a part of a celebration,” he says, “and if we can be a part of that celebration, it would be amazing.”