Tornado Potato Taking Boardwalks By Storm There are few things more appealing than french fries β€” unless you count food on a stick. Combine the two, and you get the artery-clogging, mouth-watering Tornado Potato, the hit of fairs nationwide. Richard Crossley, co-owner of Tornado Fries in Wildwood, N.J., says one of the beauties of the dish is that you can take your time munching it.

Tornado Potato Taking Boardwalks By Storm

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


From fish, now to chips, or actually to chip, a really big one, a huge French fry on a stick.

Two years ago, the Internet was aflutter about something called the Tornado Potato. A picture of one from South Korea sparked the imagination of fried food fans everywhere.

And now, the Tornado Potato has reached America. It's been the hit of state fairs and other purveyors of artery-clogging foods across the country, among them Richard Crossley, who is co-owner of Tornado Fries on the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. Welcome to the program.

Mr. RICHARD CROSSLEY (Co-owner, Tornado Fries): Yes, thank you for having me on, Robert.

SIEGEL: Can you describe one of these Tornado Fries to us? What does it look like?

Mr. CROSSLEY: Well, it's just a spiral-cut potato. We have two different sizes. We have an 18-inch one and a 26-inch one. And basically, it's cut into a number of rings that are pulled down all along, basically, a piece of wood.

SIEGEL: Did you say that the large size is a 26-inch stick?

Mr. CROSSLEY: We have a 26-inch stick. So obviously, we use a much larger potato. You know, one of the problems of it, the stick is so long and sometimes it bends a little bit under the weight of it. But people love that, obviously, because people like things on a stick, and the bigger the stick, the more impressive it is.

SIEGEL: And it's actually - it's an entire potato that's been turned into a spiral-shaped fry.

Mr. CROSSLEY: That's exactly right, yes. One of the beauties of them, the way that they're cut, they actually stick to the stick that they're on. So, you can pull pieces off at a time, and so you can take your time munching on them.

SIEGEL: Of course, if you just had a basket of French fries, you could share them more easily with someone else, couldn't you? Or can you share what's on the stick?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CROSSLEY: You can share what's on the stick. I mean, one person can hold the stick, and multiple people can actually pull pieces off if they like.

SIEGEL: Is the whole point here the stick? Is that what the attraction is here?

Mr. CROSSLEY: Well, I think so. If you have, you know - and I'm English, but if you have toffee apples or something like that, the actual idea of carrying something on a stick is very appealing and very visually striking. Obviously, from a business standpoint, that's also a good thing.

SIEGEL: You have different flavors, I gather.

Mr. CROSSLEY: Well, we have, yeah, different condiments we put on there. We have, like, 10 different types of flavoring that you can put on there. By far, the most popular we have is one called schmutz. It's homemade. It's a sweetened and salty blend of herbs and spices, and it's made out of a number of things. And now, over half of the people put actually schmutz on…

SIEGEL: Schmutz, they put schmutz on the potato.

Mr. CROSSLEY: Yes, that's right.

SIEGEL: That's not a South Korean specialty.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CROSSLEY: That's not. I'm not sure what it is actually, but people love it. They always keep coming back for more.

SIEGEL: Does this have legs, do you think? Are there going to be Tornado Fries stands all over the country soon?

Mr. CROSSLEY: Well, I mean, for me personally, I love the concept of it and the visual of it. And being English, of course, I love potatoes. But the idea for me was to franchise it, and we've already had a lot of interest in that. I expect to have stores all over South Jersey on the boardwalks next summer based on the success that we've had so far.

SIEGEL: Well, Mr. Crossley, thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. CROSSLEY: Yes, thank you very much, Robert.

SIEGEL: Richard Crossley, who is co-owner of Tornado Fries on the boardwalk of Wildwood, New Jersey.

(Soundbite of music)


You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.