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Amherst Pizza & Ale puts a (pizza) spin on fries

Pizza. Fries. Two time-honored food categories that go especially well with a frosty beverage, alcoholic or not.

Why can’t you get them at the same time at your local bar?

You can, if you live near at Amherst Pizza & Ale House. When customers order pizza fries, they get a choice between steak fries, thick skin-on fries or seasoned waffle fries. Some customers prefer those because they’re tortilla-chip-sized, making them a more efficient cheese and pepperoni delivery device.

The fries are topped with mozzarella cheese, seasonings we add, and cup-and-char pepperoni. “That’s it,” said John Bona III, the restaurant’s owner.

“We put two small cups of our pizza sauce, which we make in-house, on the plate. They can cut it up and pull it apart, and dip it into the pizza sauce,” he said. “It would just be a mess if we used the fries as dough, so to speak, on a pizza.”

Bona didn’t try to call them original, because in this era of compulsive food photography and sharing on digital media, all it takes is one midnight brainstorm to launch a cult food item.

That’s the origin story at the Crosspoint Parkway restaurant and tavern, anyway, where pizza fries crowned with oozing cheese and pepperoni go for $10.99.

“Some friends of mine sent me a picture of pizza fries they found somewhere on the Internet, with all the extreme food pictures nowadays that people post on social media,” said Bona. “Sometimes I get a chuckle, and try to make things late at night.”

It took more than just a pretty picture, though. It took extortion. “They threatened me that they weren’t coming in until I could serve them some pizza fries,” said Bona. “They were the guinea pigs one evening. It wasn’t hard to do.”

The feedback was “incredible,” Bona said. “Most people were already sold on it just by the name, or the look.”

His restaurant menus don’t change often, so he put them on the specials insert this spring, just as the winter was breaking. Now, he said, “they have their own cult following.”

Info: Amherst Pizza & Ale House, 55 Crosspoint Parkway, Amherst;


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