Disco Fries Are The New Jersey Potato Dish That Rivals Poutine

If you've ever eaten at a 24-hour diner in New Jersey or the surrounding tri-state area, you're familiar with the dense menus lined with the usual dishes like omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, salads, and everything in between. Out of all of the menu options, there's one dish that's unique to the area that you might have never heard of: disco fries. They are sort of a rival to Canada's poutine.

In case you haven't tried the New Jersey delicacy, let us fill you in on what exactly it is. The dish consists of a large pile of crispy fries topped with melted cheese and spoonfuls of thick, brown gravy. Depending on the diner, the fries might be the traditional thick-cut variety, while other eateries use waffle fries. The go-to cheese is usually melted American cheese, cheddar, or mozzarella depending on the restaurant. In comparison, Canada's poutine is regular-cut fries that are topped with a thinner gravy and cheese curds rather than melted cheese. The differences between the dishes are minimal, but if you ask a Canadian or New Jerseyan, they'll probably claim their version is supreme.

The origins of disco fries

The exact origin of New Jersey's disco fries isn't quite known, and we're sure there are plenty of diner owners across the Garden state who say their version is the original. However, we know they became popular in the 1970s and 1980s, when partygoers would go to a 24-hour diner after a night of dancing (we've all been there before). Its name was obviously coined from the popular music genre during that time, making disco fries a go-to meal to soak up alcohol after a night at Studio 54, or whatever other club they could get into, before returning to New Jersey.

It's quite easy to make your own disco fries at home. Start by cooking your favorite frozen thick-cut fries, or make your own if you're in the mood to wash and peel potatoes. When they're cooked, sprinkle a generous amount of shredded cheese and let it melt. It's crucial to sprinkle the cheese before pouring the gravy to prevent the fries from getting too soggy. The gravy used with disco fries is usually a thicker gravy that you might be used to having on Thanksgiving. Grab your favorite canned variety, or make it from scratch if you have the time. You can enjoy these fries on their own as an indulgent snack, or whip them up after a night out.