What the Fries Expands into Local Bites Food Court

Any What the Fries order comes with your choice of nacho cheese sauce, Monterey Jack cheese sauce, shredded mozzarella or shredded cheddar cheese. Photographer: Victoria Lou.

Writer: Karla Walsh

It’s been less than one year since Teonte Smith and Gary Dameron opened the service window on their dream food truck, What the Fries, for their debut service.

“We knew we wanted to open a food truck, and brought our experience of working at fast-food restaurants in the past,” Smith says.

So they began brainstorming “fun themed concepts,” keeping in mind they wanted to create something their entire family could enjoy eating together. Eventually, they decided to take a pairing they both adored—sandwiches and fries—and give it a twist.

“Sandwiches are so good with fries, right? We just eliminated the bread and decided to put the meat, cheese and toppings right on top of the fries. Loaded fries are something we both love, so this felt natural,” Dameron says.

Fast-forward 11 months, and the duo has outgrown their first home. The truck is still, well, trucking, but as of April 5, you can also get your fries fix at their new brick-and-mortar location at Local Bites Food Court (700 Locust St., lower level). Dameron and Smith planted roots at a spot that will particularly delight downtown office dwellers as they return to the office since it’s connected to the skywalk. (By the way, What the Fries joins the ranks of Fernando’s Mexican Grill, Michelangelo’s Pizza and Pasta, Teriyaki Boys, China Star, Prep Kings and Burger Shop at the locally owned food court.)

So what’s the deal with What the Fries’ menu? Diners start by choosing a fry (classic, crinkle cut, curly or waffle), then can build their own creation with protein, cheese, toppings and sauce. Or hit the easy button and try one of What the Fries’ signature creations, like the best-selling Jerk Chicken Fries with marinated chicken breast, shredded cheese or cheese sauce and jerk sauce. Menu items come in three sizes: kids ($5), half order ($8) or full order ($12).

Smith and Dameron hope the Locust location is the first of many: “Our future goal is to be in mall food courts as a franchise. We think that is a great fit for our type of food,” Smith says.

Follow @wtfriesdsm on Instagram go to facebook.com/WhatTheFriesDSM to keep up with the truck’s location. Or get your fry fix at Local Bites via takeout or dine in from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or order from 2 to 5 p.m. via Doordash.

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