A simple concept – a store selling nothing but French fries – is celebrating a big birthday in August this year.
By Jane Auster
Just over 30 years ago, during a visit to New York City in 1983, brothers Jay and Hal Gould discovered fresh-cut New York Fries in a little stand in the South Street Seaport.
Recognizing the potential of a business dedicated to one of North Americans’ favourite fast foods, Jay bought the Canadian rights and opened NYF’s first Canadian location on August 16, 1984, in Toronto’s Scarborough Town Centre. Within three years, New York Fries had grown to 25 stores, and in 1987 Jay purchased the worldwide rights from the American originators.
Today, New York Fries has 144 locations across Canada, U.A.E., Hong Kong, China, Bahrain, Macau, Kurdistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. In 2005, Jay launched South St. Burger Co., a premium burger concept with 21 restaurants in Ontario, 3 in Alberta, 2 in the UAE and 7 more in development. South St. Burger also jumped on the poutine trend and today prominently features the iconic Canadian dish.
To mark NYF’s 30th anniversary, the company has created its first, full-service food truck. Converted from a restored vintage 1947 KB 7 International retro school bus, the truck is fully equipped to serve the company’s fries and poutine. Look for this new fry-mobile to make its first public appearance from Aug. 22-24 at the CNE Food Truck Frenzy in Toronto.
The retro food truck is equipped to serve 1,000 burgers and 600 lbs. of potatoes. After the Food Truck Frenzy at the CNE, the food truck will be available to rent for private functions and high profile charity events in and around Toronto.
The man behind the fries, Jay Gould, has spent his adult life in the food biz. He began his career in fast food franchising in 1975 at age 21, when he launched the Cultures chain with his brother Hal.
Clearly, it was just the beginning for Canada’s fry guy.