I hate to perpetuate Idaho’s old motto of being the “Potato State,” because with our recreation, awesome scenery, and great people, our close-knit panhandled state is SO. MUCH. MORE.
But, you have to give credit where credit is due — Idaho makes some wickedly awesome potato entrees (and desserts) of every kind. From french fries and the meanest baked potato in the west, to a unique grilled spud experience, look no further than these 10 Idaho eateries across the state:
Best Classic Baked Potato: Pioneer Saloon, Ketchum
The Pioneer Saloon is well-known for its throwback Idaho decor, featuring the best of Gem State hunting, recreation, and celebrity visitors. But diners keep coming back for something better: the food. Namely, the massive Idaho spuds loaded and lovingly baked to perfection for your potato-loving pleasure. These behemoths are typically the size of two hands put together... so be sure to bring a healthy appetite, or a friend to share.
Best Fries: Boise Fry Company, Boise
When a restaurant tells you that their burgers are "on the side," you'd better believe that they have something awesome served up for the main course. At the BFC, that main course comes in the form of crispy, fluffy, and oh-so-hard-to-resist french fries. With 6 different potato varieties, 8 fries, and 10 sauces and salts to choose from, BFC boasts 100,000 different ways to eat your french-fried gold the Idaho way.
Best Potato Pizza: Pie Hole, Boise
Thin crust pizza, sliced huge and glistening with wonderful, cheesy goodness is exactly what Pie Hole is known for. An Idaho favorite is their Potato-Bacon Pizza, which boasts roasted and sliced potatoes baked right into the incredible Alfredo sauce. The bacon on top is like a chorus of perfection on top of perfection.
Best Potato Pancakes: Smitty's Pancake and Steak House, Idaho Falls
If Smitty's is known for one thing, it's their specialty pancakes. Once a large breakfast chain, Smitty's was bought out by its current owners, who maintain a passion for old-school comfort food and service. Fluffy, hot from the griddle potato pancakes are one of those down home favorites, which can be topped with your choice of applesauce, bacon, or sour cream. But feel free to garnish that short-stack with something more adventurous as well.
Best Poutine: Bittercreek Alehouse, Boise
Bittercreek Alehouse takes Quebec's signature dish to new levels of deliciousness. Labeled "Canadian Nachos" by some, this dish of hand-cut fries smothered in meat, cheese, and gravy is an absolute win for potato lovers everywhere. Bittercreek offers several meats to choose from, but diners particularly rave about the Duck Confit Poutine. It's amazing.
Best Gnocchi: Tony's on the Lake, Coeur d'Alene
I'm not sure which Italian genius came up with the idea of turning potatoes into pasta, but they were on to something fabulous. Tony's on the Lake is modest-looking Italian-inspired eatery with an awesome view, serving up some epic housemade gnocchi to go with it. Plated in a gorgonzola cream sauce and sprinkled with fresh parmesan, your palate will thank me later.
Best Potato Sandwich: Meltz Extreme, Coeur d'Alene
Mother of potatoes. You don't often find spuds on a sandwich in any form, let alone alongside generously layered meats on scrumptious potato bread. But Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese isn't one to shy away from anything, much less our state's favorite tuber.
Behold, the Burger Bomber and the Idahoan -- two insanely cheesy and perfectly grilled masterpieces of potato and meat perfection. The Burger Bomber is just what it sounds like: a burger inside of a grilled cheese, but with the crown jewel addition of french fries in between. But control your drooling, because while the Burger Bomber is off the seasonal menu for the next few months, the Idahoan will beckon you with its come-hither lure of house-made meatloaf nestled atop swoon-worthy smashed potatoes, drizzled in a ketchup-chili glaze that is simply divine. Of course, the whole concoction is lovingly sprinkled with beautiful colby jack and white cheddar cheese...it's potato-sandwich artistry at its finest.
Best Potato Skins: Goodwood Barebeque, Meridian
When it comes to bite-sized deliciousness, there's nothing quite like a plate full of crispy potato skins smothered with melted cheddar cheese topped with bacon bits, sour cream, and chives... but Goodwood BBQ knows how to take this tailgate food to the next level by drizzling on ranch and an extra helping of YUM. Feel free to eat with wild abandon, because sharing simply won't be an option.
Best Not-Your-Mama's Potatoes: Spuds Waterfront Grill, Sandpoint
Baked potatoes are awesome, but so are baked potatoes gone rogue. Spud's is known for their fresh and varied seasonal menu that has much more to offer than just potatoes, but that being said, their potatoes are a MUST. With unique spud options that include the Papa Fresca Potato, the Drag it Through the Garden Potato, and the South of the Border Potato, there's a delicious option for everyone.
Not a baked potato fan? Their potato soup is just as full of cheesy, wonderful goodness as their baked spuds.
Best Ice Cream Potato: Westside Drive In, Boise
You know 'em. You love 'em. Westside makes them. Chef Lou's classic Idaho combination of cocoa-covered vanilla ice cream with whip cream and chocolate syrup is the stuff dreams are made of. You can't beat the classics, people.
The competition was fierce. Mashed, fried, and perfected — so many potatoes, so little time! What’s your favorite way to eat Idaho’s spuds, and where do you find them?