Let’s face it, folks, the French fries in Cuenca tend to be terrible: thick, soggy and flavorless. Happily, that is not the case at Happy Fries, the little place apparently named by their Japanese marketing manager. This place has the best fries I’ve found in Cuenca: crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, with just the right amount of salt.
Happy Fries is located at 9-13 Benigno Malo and Simon Bolivar, less than half a block north of Parque Calderon. The location was formerly a donut shop, and is really tiny, with two small tables of three seats each, and two counters with a bunch of stools, seating as many as you could crowd in, perhaps eight on each side. The décor is clean and modern. The staff doesn’t speak English, but are very helpful and polite.
The menu consists entirely of . . . fries (go figure). Many, many flavors and varieties of fries, with prices dependent on the toppings and how complicated you want to make it. The bare-bones order of fries is $1.99, with choices maxing out at $6.
While $6 may seem somewhat steep for a bunch of fries, this is not unreasonable for a number of reasons: 1) The portions are absolutely huge; 2) The toppings are excellent (Jackie ordered the cheese and bacon topping, while I got the pollo con champinones.) and aren’t just on the top. Rather, the toppings are found throughout the serving and are really good. Think poutine. (That’s the Canadian fast food specialty, not the President of Russia.); 3) In case you get tired of the topping or somehow run out, they also give you your choice of three dipping sauces; 4) The $6 order includes the soft drink of your choice, and; 5) The fries are perfect.
There is also some clever engineering going on in how the meal is served.
The drink is in a paper cup, and the fries are in a separate container that sits on top of the cup of soda, with a straw that goes through the container to the drink.
We stopped in while walking our little dog, Prisha, and no one complained or looked askance at the mutt, though she was very well-behaved, didn’t bite anyone, and ate only a few of our fries. Good dog.
You can also order online at Domicilios.com, and can even get home delivery for an extra two bucks.
Happy Fries, 9-13 Benigno Malo y Simon Bolivar; Hours: Mon – Sat. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Cash only; Notes: Disabled accessible; Pet-friendly; Reviewer’s comment: Recommended; Facebook