There’s something oddly charming about the red french fry fork at Nathan’s Famous restaurants. It is far from the only utensil set aside solely for fried potatoes. But the plastic pitchfork with the two serrated tines, traditionally served with the eatery’s chunky, crinkle-cut fries, is a staple of the hot dog chain, which is a New York institution.
The exact chronology of the fork’s development is fuzzy. The company was founded in 1916, but a Nathan’s representative says the earliest records of the fork are from the 1950s. Its original incarnation was wooden, but a fear of splinters forced the company to make the shift to plastic in the late 1960s. According to the representative, Nathan’s developed the serrated bident design “so the integrity of the fry is not compromised. The serrated edge helps the thick, crinkle-cut fry stay on the fork.”
In 2016, according to a representative, Nathan’s produced 7,856,000 of the tiny pitchforks.
Need to Know
The fork is present at any Nathan’s Famous restaurant, which are worldwide but clustered in New York. (The company website has a restaurant locator.) People seeking to fork around at Nathan’s should properly dispose of their forks in a recycling bin.