BEST FRIES - 1999
Chicago-style hot dogs (and damn good ones) are the headliners at this West Bank institution, but for the past 18 years owner Jerry Petermeier has put just as much care into his hand-cut French fries. He starts with an 80-count (a.k.a. medium-to-large) Idaho that has been carefully aged to reduce the amount of moisture. But the real artistry involves a vintage potato cutter mounted on his wall. You think you can handle a whole potato, tough guy? Petermeier will personally take one to the cutter, crank down on the handle and shred spud into fry in one graceful motion. A far cry from the cybernetic fries most restaurants peddle, the Wienery's creations always taste more of the potato than the fryer, proving that food made fast doesn't have to taste like fast food.