By Amelia Santaniello

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you like to dip your fried potatoes in any number of sauces, the waffle fry is the way to go.

This week, we take you to Mankato’s Tavern on the Avenue — aka the “Tav on the Ave” — where you voted “best waffle fry” in Minnesota.

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There is probably not one food found on American menus that is ubiquitous as the potato.

This tasty tuber can be fried, frittered, pattied, julienned, boiled, battered, baked, twice baked, totted and skinned! And we’re only peeling the surface.

(credit: CBS)

So in the late 80s, with an already-packed potato marketplace, a new fry emerged called the criss-cut, or waffle fry. But there were some drawbacks due to their unique shape, and they cost more to produce.

But a pair of young restauranteurs from Mankato — brothers Chris and Pat Person — gambled on the new product.

“I know we were for sure the first around because there’s a little bit more of an expense to them,” Chris said. “Back then, people were just used to having the straight cut fries, the shoestring fries and that type of thing. And we thought we needed to be a little bit different, and so we added the criss-cut fries.”

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And now 30 years later, waffle fries are not just a staple at the Tav on the Ave — they’re the best in Minnesota!

(credit: CBS)

“I’m probably a pioneer,” Chris said.

But really, it’s just a fried potato with a little seasoning, but these taste delicious on their own — and especially with the Tav’s homemade ranch.

“People love the ranch, they buy it by the bottle,” Chris said.

Along with the ranch dipping sauce, they have a spicy sour cream.

Click here for more information on Tav on the Ave.

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The runners up for Best Waffle Fries in Minnesota were Malone’s in Maple Grove and the St. Paul Hotel.

Amelia Santaniello