Sunday, September 06, 2009

French Fry Diary 41: Friendly’s Family Restaurant

I haven’t been to a Friendly’s Family Restaurant in quite some time, due to a difference of opinion regarding what constitutes a non-smoking section. In other words, the non-smoking section should not be a row of booths in the very center of the restaurant where everything else is a smoking section. That just doesn’t work. And considering that NJ restaurants have been smoke-free for quite some time – that should tell you how long it’s been since I’ve been to a Friendly’s.

Now onto what we’re here for today, the favorite fried food. In the past, maybe a decade or two back, Friendly Fries (and I believe they may have been trademarked at one point) were among the best available at family restaurant franchises. Thin regular cuts, but not thin enough to be shoestrings, were hot, crisp, tasty and quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, those days and those fries are long gone.

What Friendly’s now offers are what diners used to have before the advent of Invisicoat – greasy, sub-standard regular cuts. Adequate, but then again, often not. The quality and the consistency have vanished. Nobody who liked fries is going to Friendly’s for fries anymore.

Also in the potato arena, Friendly’s has the “Jumbo Fronions and Waffle Fries” with onion rings and seasoned waffle cut potato wedges. The ones I tried were overdone and the seasoning left an unwanted aftertaste. The onion rings were thick - but not thick enough to merit being called thick – and otherwise unspectacular. This again is sad, as twenty years ago Friendly’s had the best onion rings – thin and crisp, just right. And ten years ago they had the Frunions (sp?), which were tasty and spicy onion straws (gone as well). One serving of those was enough for a meal in itself – but this sampler is barely enough for one, and definitely not for two.

Friendly’s is not a complete disaster though. The ice cream is still excellent and they still have those great large (very large) Cokes, as long as they don’t over-ice the glass. But then again, what am I really saying if I say Friendly’s has really good Coke, ya know? The service was less than pleasant, but that’s true of many places. Suffice it to say, if you want fries, drive past Friendly’s.

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Ron said...

I have the misfortune to eat at friendly's occasionally due to my oldest sprog thinking it's Ritz. Yes, the fries are dire.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I can't say that I would go to Friendly's for fries. I know they have decent food, but if I go to a Friendly's, I'm going for the ice cream.