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By Elena Kadvany

Vegan, gluten-free French fries coming to Stanford Shopping Center

Uploaded: Aug 4, 2016

Guenevere Blanchard is fond of saying she found a way to "de-villainize the French fry."

Blanchard is the proud owner of 3potato4, which sells baked French fries topped with vegan homemade sauces and served in a compostable paper cone. The fries are 99-percent fat-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, all-natural, organic and vegan. Blanchard is opening her second-ever location at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto this fall.

"Essentially, what we're offering people is just a healthy version of the food they already like," she said.

At 3potato4, you can choose from four kinds of potatoes (wedge- or crinkle-cut russets, waffle-cut sweet potatoes or rosemary redskins), then from 20 sauces (from curry ketchup and chipotle mayo to Thai aioli and wasabi-gnger mayo) that come on top. And it's still fast food -- Blanchard said the eatery's wait time is one to three minutes.

From left to right, 3potato4's rosemary-seasoned redskin potatoes with garlic-pepper mayo, waffle-cut sweet potatoes with curry mayo and wedge-cut russet potatoes with a jalapeño-ranch sauce. Photo courtesy 3potato4.

There are also specialty fries -- garlic-baked, cheesy-baked, chili-baked and fish and chips -- as well as soups, chilis and soft-serve ice cream.

The 3potato4 concept was first born in a Ben & Jerry's franchise on the East Coast, which Blanchard owned with a friend. Business was slow during the winter one year, so she came up with the idea for a
"complimentary product that was similar to ice cream cone but completely opposite."

Instead of a sweet cone filled with cold ice cream and toppings, she came up with a paper cone filled with warm, savory baked French fries with toppings. The fries quickly starting outselling the ice cream, and Ben & Jerry's caught wind of it, Blanchard said. They decided to pursue the fries concept full time, and since 2012 have been "beta testing" it all over the United States, Blanchard said.

She opened the first brick-and-mortar location in Salem, Massachusetts in 2012. The first Bay Area location was a one-year pop-up on Market Street in San Francisco (“so we could beta-test apps with Twitter,” Blanchard said), followed by a permanent outpost she opened near Fisherman's Wharf about two years ago.

The Stanford 3potato4 is the first in a serious expansion plan to open 15 new locations throughout California. Stanford is set to come online in September, followed by Pleasanton in October, three more in the Bay Area next year and then Southern California after that, Blanchard said.

On top of being health conscious, the eatery itself produces zero waste. Everything served at 3potato4 is consumable, compostable and recyclable, Blanchard said. (Things that look like they're made from plastic are actually made from potato starch.)

She also likes to sponsor local charities and is particularly passionate about the wellbeing of animals, so is looking for Palo Alto organizations to work with and support.

3potato4 will be located on the north side of the mall, on Quarry Walk. (See this shopping center map.)