Last weekend my friend from high school got married and I made the trip back to Portland. Usually I do at least a visit in the summer and a visit around at the holidays, but this was my first trip back to Portland in 10 months! It was great to see my family and friends and also be back in my hometown. Meal-wise I mostly did old favorites like Los Gorditos, Tula Baking Company, Kyra’s Bake Shop, Corbett Fish House, Mio Sushi, Pizzicato, and Pastini Pasteria. The one exception was a visit to Boise Fry Company on my first full day back.
I had heard of Boise Fry Company from a friend, who fittingly is from Boise. She now lives in Portland and was really excited they were opening a location here. I feel like this was at least two summers ago that she was taking about it or posted on Facebook. Occasionally it had popped back in mind when thinking of fries, but I had never checked to see if it had opened. This trip another friend and I were getting lunch around NW 23rd and I did my customary look on Yelp for gluten-free options nearby. Most of the places I already knew about, as expected, but Boise Fry Company was one of the exceptions. They had gluten-free buns listed on their menu. That, combined with my love of fries, made it the location for Friday’s lunch.
Boise Fry Company is in The Civic building across from
Civic Stadium PGE Park Jeld-Wen Field Providence Park, where the Timbers play. Boise Fry Company is your typical fast-casual restaurant set-up. There’s a big menu board above the counter where you order with the available fries of the day. Boise Fry Company’s slogan is “burgers on the side.” Fries are definitely the main attraction of the restaurant. You pick your size (small or large), the type of potato (Russet, purple, Gold, sweet, Laura, or yam) and then the type of fry (shoestring, regular, homestyle, curly, chips, and Po’ Balls). Understandably not every single combination is available all the time, so they have movable icons to indicate what you can order. There then are burgers (on the side), including bison and vegan burgers.
I was really curious to try the Po’ Balls. The menu didn’t really have a description, but I did find an article about Boise Fry Company that stated they were BFC’s version of the tator tot or like fried mashed potatoes. That most certainly caught my interest (just needed to double check if they are gluten-free). Alas they weren’t an available option when I visited (the article did mention that they are labor intensive and usually run out early in the morning). Curly fries were easily my next favorite option, so I went for a large version of that made with Gold potatoes. I then got a bacon cheeseburger on a gluten-free bun.
Next to the ordering counter is a counter of sauces and seasonings. I was excited to see that they all are clearly marked with what is gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. I started with their spicy fry sauce, sweet mustard, garlic aioli, and sour Thai sauce. Other sauces include ketchup (of course)and barbecue sauce. When my fries came I also added some Cajun seasoning on just a part of the fries. Other seasonsings are sea salt, smoked seasoning (not gluten-free), salt and vinegar, horseradish, vanilla!, and cinnamon ginger.
The large fries were definitely large. You can never go wrong with curly fries and these were pretty good ones. They were a little bit of crispy and a little bit of soft potato-ness. I enjoyed trying out different sauces and making dipping more of the experience (I’m not obsessed with ketchup, so dipping hasn’t been a big part of my fry eating experience). Only slight downside was that the curly fries understandably aren’t really the best for dipping. They still did the trick pretty well until the very end (when the leftovers were smaller). The sweet mustard and garlic aioli were similar to what I’ve tried before with sauces. I don’t have a lot of experience with fry sauce, but I liked the kick and flavor when I first tried BFC’s (I just moved on to other flavors after a little while). The sour Thai sauce was really interesting. It’s hard to describe. It seemed “creamy” in a way. You could taste the sourness, but it wasn’t really pronounced. It weirdly kind of reminded me of a less sweet strawberry yogurt. That sounds weird, but it was hard to not keep dipping (I’ll claim it was to study it more…). For a place that has fry in the name, I maybe was expecting the fries to be a little more special, but I guess there’s only so much you can do with fries. I think their niche comes maybe more from having a lot of different fries to try and they were still good. I certainly want to try the Po’ Balls next time if they’re available and gluten-free.
Unfortunately they were out of gluten-free buns after I ordered. It was a disappointment, but I still really liked the burger. A sign said that they do their burgers medium-well, but this was quite well-done. I usually go for medium, but I still liked it because it gave it a very grilled and crispy taste and feel. The flavor was great and it still was pretty juicy, despite the crispness. The bacon was thick (almost like a pork belly) and complemented the cheese and burger really well. I really really want to try it next time with a gluten-free bun!
The curly fries were good enough that I certainly enjoyed them and I was a big fan of the burger. I will be back to hopefully try it with a gluten-free bun and see what other fries are available. If you’re a fry fan and are excited by variety I would recommend checking Boise Fry Company out. I think it’d be great to go in a group that might want to try a lot of different types and sauces. Next time I might try two small orders of different options. If you’re in NW Portland and looking for a fast casual lunch or are a big fry fan give Boise Fry Company a look!
Boise Fry Company- 1902 West Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97209