The first time someone told me I need to go to that new place, HopCat, and try the Crack Fries, I gave a noncommittal, "Eh, yeah, maybe." The second and third time, I considered going. By the seventeenth time, I needed to see what everyone was so addicted to.

For the three of you who haven't heard of Crack Fries yet, it's a generous plate of beer-battered French fries sprinkled with cracked black pepper seasoning. It's the signature menu item of the Michigan-based gastropub chain, which is also known for its vast selection of beers.

Public Enemy famously warned us “Don’t Believe the Hype.” But in this case, you can ignore the advice of Flavor Flav and company, because these fries live up to the hype. They're salty, peppery and just a little sweet. They are cooked until crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, just as fries are meant to be. Seasoned fries are gaining in popularity, but I haven’t tasted any as satisfying as Crack Fries.

It's not just my food-recommending acquaintances who are hooked on the Crack Fries. In a recent article on the Food Network’s website, the addictive fries were named among the 10 best fries in the U.S. In local news, Crack Fries just nabbed the award for Best Fries in the City Pulse/Fox 47 News Top of the Town contest for the second year in a row. (HopCat, which offers 100 taps of craft beer, also won for Best Craft Beer Selection).

So I guess when a lot of people like something, that thing is probably pretty good. Who knew?


11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday;
11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday- Saturday;
10 a.m.- midnight Sunday
300 Grove St., East Lansing
(517) 816-4300,

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