Our 2021 Black Chicago Foodie Tour has produced some of my favorite restaurants, such as Lizzy J’s and Virtue, among others. As a Chicago outsider from Miami, I can be fully objective and in tourist mode when I recommend restaurants to non-Chicagoans based on our romanticized view of Chicago’s food scene, without the emotional attachment of a local. Locals are deeply connected to their cities and could not care less about what outsiders think, as they should. However, because Chicago is known for amazing food, it is imperative that I get it right so locals and tourists align with my recommendations.
That brings us to the newly opened Friistyle Restaurant in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, located at 5059 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60615. When visiting a foodie town, spending your dime at spots most symbolic of the romanticized culinary view of the city leaves a satisfaction that you really got to taste the city’s best, most authentic food. For Chicago, that’s heavy, saucy, decadent, and flavor packed cuisine that combines American soul with bouts of Old-World cooking traditions.
That’s Friistyle! There are French fries and then there are BELGIAN FRIES! Unlike the name implies, the origin was not France, but a smaller country bordering France, Germany, and the Netherlands known as Belgium. The lore goes that during WWI, US soldiers thought they were in France because everyone was speaking French and when the Belgian locals served the fries, they were considered French, hence the name French fries.
The American French fry is skinny and fried only once in high heat vegetable oil. Conversely, the Belgian fries are thick-cut, made with floury Bintje potatoes, and double-cooked in beef tallow. Usually they are pre-fried at a lower heat and then deep-fried at a higher heat right before served. This process creates a super crisp exterior and tender potato flesh, with the beef fat providing a welcomed savory aftertaste.
Friistyle serves them up with a Canadian twist. You can get the fries with your choice of chicken, salmon, lamb, veggies or lobster, my favorite. Chef added cuts of celery and delicious remoulade and aioli sauces that gave this box of fries an EXPLOSION of flavor. The fries come with their signature sauces and a super creative combination of chef inspired toppings, like dill aioli, and the mango salsa served on the delicious salmon selection.
This place is a must visit for any true foodie. I have been back several times since our first tour and each time in Chicago, I get my lobster fries and wash it down with their Do Well Lemonade, a brand created and owned by a Black woman who specializes in refreshing lemonades and juice creations.
If you don’t want the decadent toppings on your Belgian style fries, then follow my nephew’s selection and opt for their delicious chicken wings with naked fries.
You can reach Friistyle Restaurant at (773) 548-5375.