We love your standard, ketchup-dipped French fry as much as the next Houstonian. But in this city, there are so many inventive, mouthwatering ways to get a fix, loaded with all sorts of interesting ingredients—especially lately—that we’d be downright crazy not to try them. 

Cedar Creek Bar & Grill

NEW! July 13, 2020: The menu at the ever-popular Heights hangout reads like a Buzzfeed list of the 13 Most Texan Foods. There are fried pickles, Frito Pie, elote, and a cowboy burger with fried egg and applewood-smoked bacon. For potato people, you can get a whole lot of Lone Star State in the Fiesta Fries, topped with chicken, smoked sausage, pico de gallo, and jalapeños, and given generous drizzles of barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, and queso. The dish confirms that, yes, everything is bigger here.

The Burger Joint

NEW! July 13, 2020: It’s hard to resist the temptation to simply order a tidy classic burger and thick chocolate shake at the venerable restaurant with locations in Montrose and the Heights. But if you’re feeling frisky, consider ordering one of the Burger Joint’s bulked-up fry creations, including bacon-parmesan and chile queso. There’s nothing safe about these babies, in which a few giant scoops of bean chile are drenched with both golden queso and queso fresco. Another option: Ask for the off-menu loaded baked potato fries. It has shredded cheese, sour cream, and loads of green onions and bacon bits. Drool.

AL Quick Stop & Grill

At the back of the convenience store next to Rudyard’s Pub, you’ll find this longtime neighborhood destination, a counter-service Mediterranean grill whipping up street-food favorites. For the ultimate in Greek-American fusion, get the gyro fries dusted in chile powder and topped with stretchy Monterey Jack, tender lamb, feta, and chopped tomatoes. Dip them in tzatziki for the full experience.

Banh Appetit

This new concept offers a twist on the traditional banh mi, serving its sandwiches inside flaky croissants instead of baguettes. But our favorite dish is the fantastic Banh Appetit Fries, which are coated in queso and drizzled with Sriracha and creamy chile mayonnaise (“magic sauce”) before being topped with beef, sesame seeds, and fresh cilantro. You can even add microgreens, cut fresh from the shop’s table planters.

Brianna’s Restaurant y Pupuseria

As the name suggests, this spacious, family-run eatery specializes in pupusas (we recommend the succulent chicharrón). But there’s a range of Latin American options on offer, including the Peruvian street snack known as salchipapas—here, crinkle fries and frank pieces doused in ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Hangover food never tasted so good.

Image: Kate LeSueur

Dak & Bop

Bring a friend, and get the double-fried Korean chicken, of course. But keep busy during the 30-minute wait with an order of fiery kimchi fries: crispy, skin-on potatoes sturdy enough to withstand all that fermented cabbage, soy-garlic sauce, chile mayo, and Sriracha. Add a helping of bulgogi to take the dish right over the top. 

Chicken Station

This rotisserie-chicken paradise offers excellent traditional salchipapas, but for an absurdly awesome adventure, try the Salchi Monster. Served on a large tray, a pile of perfectly crispy fries and fried yucca arrives doused in three fragrant sauces—olive, rosada, and yellow—and topped with smoky franks, spit-roasted chicken, cheese, and a fried egg. If you guessed that this dish is best tackled by a group, you guessed right.

Cowboys & Indians Tex-In Kitchen

The menu here is divided into Texan and Indian specialties. For a taste of both, get the loaded vegetarian fries, an eye-popping dish of masala-dusted fries topped with queso, chickpeas, paneer, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, sour cream, and—yes—more potatoes, this time in cubed form. We couldn’t stop eating this delicious creation.

What French Fry House does best. 

French Fry House

Pull up to this cute little shack with patio seating and take your pick from an entire menu of loaded-French-fry options. We can’t get enough of the Big Tex, topped with Burns Original BBQ brisket and sausage; sweet, homemade barbecue sauce; and shredded cheese. When it’s on offer, get the popular Bayou Fries with homemade shrimp-and-crawfish étouffée.

House of Fries

There are loaded snacks galore at this no-frills luncheonette. Our favorites are the tasty Philly cheesesteak fries—with shaved sirloin, grilled onions, tangy nacho sauce, and chopped bell peppers—and the irresistible chicken-bacon-ranch version. Whatever you decide on, get your fries battered for extra-crispy texture.

Hubcap Grill

Beloved for its burgers, this Houston institution also serves up wickedly delicious loaded fries. Our pick is the Buffalo, in which twice-fried potatoes are blanketed in equal parts tangy hot sauce and chunky blue cheese dressing. Get them with a beer and some napkins—lots of napkins.

Tubs Poutine

Open since last June, this sleek, café-style eatery offers an extensive menu of the Canadian dish known as poutine: in its most classic form, fries with cheese curds drenched in brown gravy. You can customize your order, selecting your meat, cheese, gravy, and other toppings, but we’re partial to The Bib—tried-and-true poutine topped with tender, slow-cooked oxtail meat.