Pat’s Pizzeria is home to the famous Mega Fries, first introduced to me when I visited friends at the University of Delaware. A wonderful mess of French fries, cheese and bacon that I came to enjoy most every time I visited the campus. Now that all my friends have graduated, it turns out that there are other Pat’s Pizzeria locations that serve up Mega Fries just like I remember.
If you live in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey; hopefully there’s a location near you (also plotted using Google Maps API). If not, it’s worth a road trip; as friends of mine from New York could tell you. Based on the following three locations — of which I have direct personal experience — I image that most any Pat’s Pizzeria will provide excellent Mega Fries.
114 N. Hickory Ave
2305 Pulaski Highway
40 Marrows Rd
If you’re new to Mega Fries, or you aren’t but can’t seem to read enough about them, here’s what it’s all about:
Many have speculated about the types of cheese contained within Mega Fries as well as the process by which they are made. Everyone knew it was a mixture of two, possibly three cheeses; but there was always plenty of guesswork made about the order in which they are applied. Some believed that it was nacho cheese or Velveeta first poured into the tin, then some other types sprinkled on top. Much time has been spent over drinks attempted to figure out (and perhaps duplicate) the efforts, however the online menu makes it quite clear.
Pat’s Mega Fries are served in a disposable aluminum pie tin. Fresh fries are loaded up in the pie tin and then covered with Cheese Whiz. The first cheese must be more viscous because it is found all throughout the finished product, not just on the top. Then a generous mixture of chopped bacon, shredded Swiss and mozzarella cheeses are applied to the top of the fries. We’ve estimated that we’ve received anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 pound of bacon in a single order. The whole thing is then sent through the pizza oven for the shredded cheese to melt up and around some of the bacon. The fries on the sides of the pie tin get slightly crispy.
Eating an order of Mega Fries is just as unique a process as determining the ingredients USED to be (until now). Most people prefer one ounce of Ken’s Steak House Ranch (provided by the Delaware stores, by request at the others) to be spread across the top and eat the fries right out of the tin with their hands. Some prefer to supplement the given ranch with more from the bottle in the fridge. Since the end product is rather greasy, some prefer a fork and knife to consume the thing. Hardcore consumers of Mega Fries prefer to eat the entire thing in one sitting, however they can be reheated in the oven (preheat to 325 and bake for 20 minutes, or until you can heard the bacon sizzling). For whatever reason, if you’re still hungry after a tin; I’d recommend either the Italian Stromboli or the 18-inch Philadelphia Steak sub. Both are amazingly good, and enough to feed at least two people.
There is ample evidence from weekend jaunts to University of Delaware that Mega Fries are best served before or after a night of alcoholic consumption. Informal undergraduate studies have shown that Mega Fries counter a hangover quite nicely (some people think the greasiness factor helps). If you aren’t a lush, fear not, many road trips have been made solely to acquire Mega Fries; indeed there are stories of Mega Fries being transported up to 150 miles from their original place of purchase to be enjoyed.
We opted to combine a few American traditions last night: greasy food, drive-in movies, and family-owned businesses. All three have been in a decline in today’s health-conscious corporate world. We enjoyed our Pat’s Mega Fries (from the Bel Air, MD location) at Bengies Drive-In, enjoying both in the open air under the stars. Our stomachs were happy, we were entertained, and I slept well knowing that we’d helped support two of the finer small businesses around.
Note: According to Google there are many establishments called Pat’s Pizzeria, but to my knowledge only one group of family-owned stores with the circular “Family Restaurant” logo (as seen above). I take no responsibility if you visit a competing Pat’s and receive sub-par, or even… [dramatic pause] healthy… fries. This isn’t to say that quality cheese fries can’t be found elsewhere. They can. Bill’s Shakin’ Bacon Fries from Bill Bateman’s Bistro come immediately to mind, however even these are different and can’t be directly compared. Pat’s Mega Fries are one of a kind, and worth trying even if you have a favorite style of cheese fries already. With their popularity within the University of Delaware — never mind the rest of the world — Mega Fries still do not appear on the menu board above the cash registers, but have finally made it to the paper/web menus.