DUI Fries sound like something your drunk buddy invented, or some kind of urban legend about fries that cure your hangover, and while those are questionable claims, both are probably the reason these fries exist.
If you search for #DUIFries on Instagram, only 674 photos come up. It's insane that a dish as crazy as this one hasn't even cracked 1,000 IG posts, as of this writing. But those in the know, know what's up with these majestic, artery-clogging fries.
About five years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to DUI Fries. He told me that if I went to a restaurant called Jim's Burgers in La Puente, California, I could find some chili cheese fries that were topped with not only pastrami, but carne asada, as well.
This no doubt intrigued me, and we set out on this mission to find the DUI Fries.
As with most "secret menu items," I nervously asked the cashier for these "DUI Fries," fully expecting to be given a, "What's that?" But she put in the order, and I awaited the greasy goodness to fill my insides.
It was pretty much everything I hoped for, as I felt like death afterward, but came to terms with the over 1,500-calorie meal possibly being my last before my heart exploded.
I recently went in search for the origin of the majestic DUI Fries, and was first led to Dino's Chicken and Burgers. After speaking with Jim Pantazis, the small burger chain's owner, he said the DUI Fries were born at Dino's "about 10 years ago," at their Pico Rivera location, and actually had nothing to do with alcohol, despite the obvious name.
We later found out those claims made by Dino's owner to be furiously contested, as there were claims that the origin of the DUI Fries actually came in the 70s, and it came across the street from Dino's, at a diner called Jim's Super Burgers.
Owner Robert Stavrakis said, "The DUI was created by us and our customers over 20 years ago."
Stavrakis said some of the regulars at Jim's Super Burger wanted to name a menu item and put together the fry concoction, inspired by the pastrami fries that were already on the menu. They added carne asada to the mix, and it became a hit. After noticing that nearby bar-goers would often come into the restaurant in the middle of the night, they decided to go with the name, "Dining Under the Influence Fries."
They even came with receipts, showing us a registered trademark for the D.U.I. name.
Regardless of the origin, DUI Fries are now one of Southern California's best kept food secrets, and the craziest thing about it, the ingredients are readily available at most mom & pop burger shacks around Cali. Because of this, the fries can be found at several different locations, some even giving them a different name, but same look.
Archibald's Drive-Thru has their own version in their five So Cal locations:
Victory Diner in Orange County sells them now, too:
Arry's Super Burgers in Montebello will give you these heart-stopping fries:
Like I mentioned earlier, the place where I first experienced them, Jim's Burgers serves up a mean plate of them:
Hell, there's even places that call them "Loco Fries" like Rubi's Grill and Frosty Freeze in Whittier:
Whether you call them DUI Fries, Loco Fries, or simply ask for carne asada and pastrami chili cheese fries, these are a gem in Southern California. Those in the know, might covet them as much as In-N-Out's glorious Animal Style Fries, maybe even more, since they've been on the low for so long.
Y'all need to experience these fries, and the chosen few who already enjoy them might hate me for this story, but I can't be greedy.
Whether you go to Jim's Super Burgers, Dino's (Also, their chicken fries are fire, but that's one secret to uncover another time), or any of the other restaurants mentioned, pop in and see if you can handle them.
Just make sure you go with a friend. Ya know, just in case you need someone to quickly perform CPR on you.