WATERVILLE — Changing the cut of their french fries first led to threats of violence for the owners of the Waterville Bolley’s Famous Franks. Then it led to international acclaim.

Co-owner Leslie Parsons told the Kennebec Journal on Friday that its report about customer response to their change from crinkle-cut to straight-cut fries started a chain of other media outlets reaching out. She said she recently took a call from representatives of popular television chef Rachael Ray, and other attention has come from all over the world.

“I even had a newspaper from China ask if we could ship fries over there,” she said.

The story, first published on CentralMaine.com, has been published by England’s Daily Mail, Boston.com, The Cut, and more outlets around the globe.

Around closing time Friday, Parsons was still fielding orders from hungry customers. She said the recent media frenzy around the restaurant has been a little hectic, but the attention has led to increased visitation.

“We’ve got people coming in who are curious about it,” Parsons said. “The feedback has been positive.”


“I’m not mad at you,” she said with a laugh before returning to fryers.

The crinkle-cut fry has been served at Bolley’s since it began in Waterville in 1962. The eatery was run by three generations of the Genest family, starting with Guy Genest in 1962, until closing in 2014. The Parsons family, husband and wife Leslie and Jim, reopened the Waterville Bolley’s in 2017.

Co-owner Jim Parsons previously said a man came in earlier this month, angry about a change from crinkle-cut spuds to straight-cut, and ended up threatening to fight him when he was kicked out for becoming disorderly around customers.

The change, Leslie Parsons said, came down to finances.

The crinkle-cut fries are cut vertically and horizontally with two sets of special blades that are sold in boxes of 10, and are usually purchased monthly. Leslie Parsons said the blades are flimsy, and half of the money the restaurant took in from french fries went back into repairing or buying blades.

The new fries, about as thin as McDonald’s fries, are exactly the same product, aside from the aesthetics.


“People think we’re changing tradition,” Leslie Parsons said. “We’ve given so much respect to the previous owners.”

Attention was brought to the restaurant after a post published a week ago on Bolley’s Facebook detailing encounters with “disturbing and hostile” customers regarding the fries.

She said the safety of her three daughters — who regularly work the cash register or hang out around the store — was called into question with angry customers.

“When someone is hostile, you don’t know where the endpoint is going to be,” she said. “If you’re getting into fights over french fries, you’ve got bigger problems.”

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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