A scrappy new Black-owned restaurant is about to make its Texas debut, hot on the heels of an expansion that saw its owner opening locations all along the West Coast this year.
Man vs Fries was born from founder William Bonhorst’s childhood obsession with the fast food side dish. “I never met a french fry I didn’t love,” he recently told Eater Portland. Now he’s bringing that obsession to Texas, with three ghost kitchens launching in Houston later this month, and more to follow soon in Austin.
Bonhorst founded Man vs Fries in 2018 as a pop-up in the Bay Area of California. The main dish is basically a build-your-own plate of loaded fries — diners can choose from curly fries or seasoned straight-cut, then from toppings including carne asada and pollo asado, finally deciding if they want their fries “NorCal-style” — with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and “secret sauce”, or “SoCal-style” — with grilled onions, cilantro, and jalapeños. Since its founding, Man vs Fries has expanded into other dishes, like fry-filled burritos, quesadillas, and even dessert, like a Texas Fair-style fried cheesecake, which Bonhorst says is his favorite.
The restaurant’s quick growth came from a partnership with Reef Kitchens, a sort of ghost kitchen restaurant incubator. That allowed Bonhorst to open up delivery-only restaurants in Portland, Seattle, and now, Texas. Man vs Fries is the first Black-owned restaurant to partner with Reef.
“The pandemic has been a challenging time for restaurant owners, but I decided to expand through innovative means, to think outside the brick and mortar, to bring some comfort food to folks during these trying times,” Bonhorst said in an email. “I am excited to spread our Bay Area culture with the new cities across the U.S. Houston and Austin have always been dream cities for me. They are arguably top foodie cities in America with eclectic food scenes and I am pumped to expand to Texas, fried cheesecake in hand.”
The three delivery-only Man Vs Fries locations landing in Houston this month are at Briarforest, which opens December 8, Westchase, opening December 10, and Downtown, opening on December 15. The menu will be available on all major food delivery apps.