Fries Hit the Spotlight

May 17, 2013

2/13- Full HappyA new chain pushing French fries as a snack rather than a side dish is Bay State-bound.

The first of 10 planned French Fry Heaven locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire is targeted for Saugus’ Square One Mall in June and the Natick Mall soon after.

Fitchburg franchisee Aramis Jordan was catching up on reading one Sunday when he came across an ad for the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company.

“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Why didn’t I think of this?’ ” he said. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘What do you think?’ She said, ‘Everybody loves French fries.’ ”

French Fry Heaven sells Belgian-style fries (“Angels”) and sweet potato fries (“Saints”) cooked in trans fat-free peanut oil and served in paper cones for $3 to $6. Each location has 21 toppings, from the traditional salt or ketchup to mayo and chili powder, steak sauce and pepper, cheeseburger flavor and curry and peanut butter. Sweet options for the sweet potato fries include Nutella and peanut butter sauce, marshmallow and pumpkin spice, blueberry and vanilla, and funnel cake. Customers also can choose a variety of sea salts.

Jordan and business partner William Choate, who also own eight Edible Arrangements stores in Central Massachusetts, are in final negotiations for a 900-square-foot Saugus store and a kiosk outside the Natick Mall food court.

French Fry Heaven locations also develop regional toppings, and the duo is mulling lobster bisque or clam chowder flavors.

Former college president Scott Nelowet came up with the idea for French Fry Heaven in 2010 after seeing the proliferation of French fries-only small stands and stores on a trip to Europe.

“It probably has opportunities in nontraditional locations like kiosks in mall food courts, train stations or airports,” said Darren Tristano of Technomic, a food industry consulting firm in Chicago. “The only way you can make money on those types of concepts is to have low overhead costs and a platform of 500 to 900 square feet.”