America's Classics: Al's French Frys, South Burlington, VT

America's Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Over the next few weeks, we'll be spotlighting the eateries that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. Founded by Al and Genevieve Rusterholz in the late 1940s, Al's French Frys was originally housed in a small hut, open to the elements. Many Chittenden Countians encountered Al’s French Frys stand at the Champlain Valley Fair, where it earned a reputation that has endured for more than half a century. Al’s is now owned by the Bissonette family, headed by Bill Bissonette, who revealed part of the restaurant’s secret when he told a local paper that he starts with Idaho or California russets and fries them twice in a combination of beef tallow and soy bean oil at between 300 and 400 degrees for a total of about seven minutes. There are always lines at Al’s, night and day. You can order a pint, or the vastly more popular quart size. The pleasure of uttering the words “And a quart of fries with that” is one of the chief charms of Al’s. The fries boast a dark and crackly exterior. Creamy white potato fluff lurks within. Al’s fries are a benchmark and a bulwark against devolution, in a world where chefs who should know better resort to frozen, cotton-flannel fries or moan about what a pain and torment it is to cook French fries from scratch. –Alison Cook, Restaurant Critic, Houston Chronicle Al's French Frys 1251 Williston Road South Burlington, VT 802.862.9203 Click here to see our complete list of America's Classics.

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