When chef Frank Bonanno morphed a long beloved dive hangout, Lancer Lounge, into the Vesper Lounge this past winter, we weren't sure what to expect of our food order. We should have known that a Bonanno kitchen wouldn't just slap any old bar snack on the menu. The hot, salted fries arrive dusted with aromatic baharat—a beguiling Middle Eastern spice blend that includes black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves. Bet you can't eat just one.
When you specialize in one item, it better be good. And the skin-on, salty, Belgium-style fries at Manneken Frites in Olde Town Arvada aren’t just good—they’re knockouts. Order a large cone (if you’re sharing, request a double) and choose your dipping sauce from the 22 on the menu. The house-made tzatziki and the slightly sweet sauce andalouse—made with mayo, onions, red and green peppers, and tomato paste—are our favorites. Pair the salty snack with a Belgian brew and sip and savor in the beer garden.
It’s not that we have anything against your average naked fry. But if it were up to us, French fries would nearly always come dressed up like they do at Big Game. Whether you order the poutine (fries covered in white gravy and topped with cheese curds), the Thanksgiving version (sweet potato fries fancied up with marshmallow and candied pecans) or the British style (fries with malt vinegar and horseradish-caper mayo) you’ll be pleased with your choice. Yes, the toppings are, well, tops, but it’s the tangled base of salty, hand-cut, fresh-made-daily fries that make these dishes so special.