I have a historical question to ask. Was Morton’s Steakhouse the first major restaurant chain to feature giant baked Idaho® potatoes?A:
Morton’s of Chicago has been a terrific supporter of Idaho® potatoes over the years, not only with their huge baked potatoes but also with several other equally large portioned potato side dishes. I really love the founder’s recipe book which was introduced just a few years ago.
Actually, the pioneer in serving giant baked potatoes was a man named Dario Toffenetti, who ended up with restaurants in Chicago, New York City and a hotel in Miami. He was an avid Idaho® potato supporter and one time found out about the availability of some ginormous spuds that were going to be sold as cattle feed, and he promptly said he would take a rail car of them to try out in one of his restaurants in Chicago. For years these were featured as loaded “Genuine Jumbo Mealy Idaho® Baked Potatoes” and served hot right off the fire for 25¢!
See the picture below. Today we certainly would advise Mr. Toffenetti to not display the potatoes in the window as the skin will turn green from exposure to light. And, we’d wonder about the already plated potatoes in the window tasting as good as the ones out of the oven fires. With plenty of rich creamery butter he might not be able to legally say: “Partake for your health’s sake” unless the dairy portion was not quite so ample. We know now that a 5.3 ounce baked potato is about 110 calories so a “one pounder” is only about 350 calories… the potato is healthy by itself, it’s just what you top it with that you need to do in moderation to be able to say it’s healthy.