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House Cut Potato Fries

It's a name on menu, and what does it mean? Does it mean that it's sliced in the restaurant, or does it mean that it's grown/harvested in the restaurant or in it's farmer (not sourced from third-party)?

  • which country did you see this in, or where did you see it? – WendyG Jan 30 at 15:13
  • As a note, "house-cut" should be hyphenated precisely to mitigate this confusion. – chrylis Jan 30 at 16:13
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Fries suggests a North American locale; in other parts of the world, they may be known as chips or finger chips.

This is a sense of house as an establishment or venue, as Merriam-Webster defines it:

7a: a place of business or entertainment

a movie house
the local fish house
a house of prostitution

7b(1): a business organization

a publishing house

7b(2): a gambling establishment

7c: the audience in a theater or concert hall

So, house cut potato fries are potato fries which have been sliced at the restaurant (or hotel or club or whatever the establishment is), as opposed to being processed at a factory and shipped to the restaurant pre-cut. This is a way of marketing the dish as fresher and more carefully prepared, and are perhaps emphasized here because fries are closely associated with fast food or other low-quality dining.

Establishments which source food directly from farmers and other producers, as opposed to food processors and distributors, would most commonly refer to it as farm to table or farm-to-fork. These terms, and others like them like artisanal, are not well-defined and are not always meaningful—after all, even McDonald's food originated at some farm somewhere.

A possible alternative meaning is that the fries have been sliced in a particular way that is characteristic of the house, perhaps in a certain shape or pattern. You might see this in a food review, e.g. "The sandwich was served with fries in the house cut" or some such, but it is unlikely to be used in this way on a menu.


The same sense of house appears in other phrases. The same menu might offer a house wine (house red, house white, etc.), a standard wine that is always available. In contrast to house-prepared dishes, the house wine tends to be associated with mediocrity, since it is commonly purchased in bulk and sold at a low cost, but actual quality will vary. To avoid this connotation of house, establishments may present the offerings they consider representative as signature, e.g. signature cocktails, signature cuts, but this word is so overused that it has lost any real significance to most consumers.

Beyond food, House rules are variations on a standard game peculiar to a particular establishment. This is most commonly associated with gambling in card games, but for example, most people play the board game Monopoly with various non-standard rules that were never officially acknowledged until recently, and recognized by the publisher as house rules.

An organization may similarly enforce a house style, set of rules for writing, graphics, identity, and so forth that are peculiar to that organization. For example, the University of Colorado dictates that its published works follow the Associated Press Stylebook overall, but not strictly—it enforces various Exceptions to AP Style—and may be said to follow a house style.

9

It means they used whole potatoes and made their own fries (French fries in the US or chips in the UK, etc). The fries were not pre-cut and frozen. They were not bought by the restaurant in plastic bags.

House can refer to an eatery or bar. The other meanings of house cut are not relevant to this context though very interesting.

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    Or it can refer to a casino, or pretty much any establishment that serves customers. My old apartment complex had an in-house notary that would notarize documents “on the house”. There’s also “house rules”. – ColleenV Jan 30 at 15:12
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    @ColleenV That is a completely different context. And not relevant here. – Lambie Jan 30 at 15:16
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    @Lambie I disagree. If one understands what "house" means in these contexts, then one can (probably) make the leap to guess what "house-cut" potato fries means. – Kenneth K. Jan 30 at 15:54
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    It might be relevant to point out the similarities between "House-cut" and "Home-made" – DaveMongoose Jan 30 at 16:45
2

Instead of House cut you could also say Home cut, it really just means that the potato fries are cut at the restaurant.

House in this context refers to the idea of something being produced/made on the site which it's being sold/offered.

  • it also tends to refer to chunkier cut chips (well it does in the UK) – WendyG Jan 30 at 15:03
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    home fries in the US, anyway, are a different way of preparing potatoes, and they are not deep fried like French fries (crisps in the UK). home cut is not used in a restaurant. – Lambie Jan 30 at 15:32
  • @Lambie that's not true where I live in the US. House cut fries are usually deep fried around here (PNW). They are just cut to order from a whole potato, rather than brought in precut and frozen – Aethenosity Jan 30 at 17:46
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    "Home fries" can be the same thing as "[French] fries" -- potatoes cut into relatively long, thin strips and deep-fried -- but they can also be a completely different dish, in which the potatoes are cut into either cubes or thin disks and then pan-fried, sometimes together with onions and/or green bell peppers. (Here's a typical recipe.) If you haven't had an American diner's "home fries" before, it is best to ask your waiter what they're like. "How do you do your home fries?" is the idiomatic way to put this question. – zwol Jan 30 at 19:15
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    The comment thread is hard to follow, but I think what everyone is asking for is clarification that home cut fries are not the same thing as home fries, as zwol notes, You say "you could also say home cut" but that phrasing is not that common in the U.S. (except in restaurants pushing a "homestyle cooking" image where everything is "homemade" this and "grandma's" that and from some "family" recipe). Home fries are an extremely common dish, on the other hand, so introducing home into the mix may lead to confusion. – choster Jan 30 at 19:58

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