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Potato-Centric Restaurant Concepts

Q:

I love potatoes and can’t get enough of them when I eat out. Are there restaurant concepts where potatoes get the respect on the menu they deserve?

A:

If you troll through my Dr. Potato posts, you’ll find lists of restaurants serving signature versions of poutine, potato tots, potato skins and mashed potatoes. Diners who want even more potato choices are in luck. In the past few years, several completely potato-centric restaurant concepts have emerged that look to have staying power.

As a single-dish restaurant, Potatopia serves potatoes and only potatoes. The potatoes come in a wide variety of forms–skin chips, curly, shoe string, smashed, baked and au gratin–to be topped to the customer’s specifications with a choice of meats, vegetables, cheese and sauces. Right now, potato lovers will have to visit New York City or Edison, New Jersey to try out the menu. As the New York Times advises, “Just consider it your own private Idaho.”

With units in San Francisco, Las Vegas and New Orleans, 3 Potato 4 serves up baked-not-fried potato fries (russets, blues and red-skins) in paper cones. Customers can choose from over 50 different homemade sauces. Throw in streamlined, 1950’s-themed restaurants for space age ambience while you enjoy your potatoes.

In Dallas, Phil Romano has launched Potato Flats, a build-your-own potato restaurant. The menu features potatoes–either Russet or sweet, baked or fried–with a variety of toppings, including meatloaf, steak, fish chowder, broccoli and carrots, as well as more traditional baked potato options. Daily specials will include crowd-pleasers like the Thanksgiving potato (sliced turkey, gravy, roasted carrots, peas, corn and cranberry relish). For potato lovers who plan where to enjoy their next potato, Romano plans to expand the Potato Flats concept to food courts, airports and schools.

Here at the Idaho Potato Commission, we are very encouraged by concepts that maximize the potato’s menu versatility and ongoing consumer popularity. Check back from time to time for updates; we’re always on the lookout for the best spots for spuds.