Chicken wings, blizzards, and the Bills. These are things Buffalo is famous for. But another claim to fame for Buffalo is in the works: the world’s longest French fry.
Angelo Turco, owner of Louie’s Hot Dogs, has been cutting fries for over forty years, since he was six years old and working for his father, Louis Turco, at their family-operated restaurant. It's safe to say he knows a thing or two about French fries.
With six locations throughout Western New York, Louie’s has been a Buffalo staple since it first opened in 1951. In addition to their French fry record, Louie's charcoal-broiled burgers and dogs, fresh-cut fries, and special hot sauce recipe makes it unique among other hot dog restaurants.
The attempt to beat the record for the longest French fry didn’t begin in the Louie’s kitchen, though. While driving to work, Turco heard about a couple of customers from one of Louie’s competitors finding a 3 foot long French fry in their order. After some research Turco discovered that no previous record was officially recorded with the Guiness World Book of Records, so he took the idea and ran with it.
"I was very surprised there wasn’t a record for the world’s largest French fry until we started cutting this thing," says Angelo Turco. He enlisted his father, Louis Turco, and his uncle, Steve Iaccono, to help him create the longest French fry.
Iaccono developed a machine where you put a potato on an armature that spins it through a blade, peeling it and cutting the fries into long curls, which uses as much of the potato as possible. Their first successful attempt was a 6 foot long French fry—surpassing the fry Turco heard on the radio by 3 whole feet, but he still wondered if he could make it longer.
Last year, WYRK heard about the phenomenon and asked Turco to come on air and attempt to break his 6ft record. The pressure was on, but Turco smashed his own previous record making a fry that measured up to be 10 feet, 3 inches.
Fast forward to September 2011 and again Turco was gaining attention for his unique record, this time on CW23’s Winging It! Buffalo Style. This time he brought his late uncle’s French fry machine on the show. Turco again broke his own record with a fry that measured 11 feet 10 inches.
With this new record, and a video as proof, Turco sent in an official application to the Guinness Book of World Records. It can take up to two months for the organization to confrm the record, so it is still an unofficial success, but Turco is confident he is the only one who has set out to make the world’s largest French fry. "This is not a local thing, this is not a national thing. This is a worldwide thing," Turco declares.
The record helps Turco remember and honor Steve Iaccono, the uncle who developed the machine and who passed away before the record could be set. "You could say, without that machine from Steve, you wouldn't be breaking a record like this. Never, never. I mean, that's why nobody else has done it. The machine is the key and the proper potato is the key. We use these 40 count (a size designation used int he food industry) "bakers". They're real big," Turco told CW23.
The record also gives Louie’s a new and unique way to tout thier restaurant. "Every time we’re in the news for something like this, sales have jumped," Turco says. "Any type of advertising like that will draw people." Customers now come to Louie’s, not only because its roots are in Buffalo and because the family-operated business has great food, but also because it is a record-setting restaurant.