If, like me, you can’t enjoy a potato without a choice of 10 aiolis, then you grasp the importance to total potato gratification of Potatopia.
Well, actually, that’s not like me. I really don’t want any aiolis. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t want them anywhere near my potato. I would want sour cream, or maybe cheese. But Potatopia has those, too, which means that it seeks to gratify everyone, which makes it truly a Potato Utopia.
I got 100 on my eighth-grade math midterm, but I still can’t begin to calculate how many different potato-meal options those choices can yield. But I’m pretty sure that you could get a different one every day for the rest of your life and die in old age regretting all the potato combinations you missed.
Your potato choices include Baked Potato, Baked Sweet Potato, Smashed Potato, Mashed Pie, Skin Chip, Shoestring, and Curly. Your topping choices include Broccoli, Sweet Pepper, Cilantro, Red Onion, Cheddar Cheese, Asiago Cheese, Pepperjack Cheese, and Specialty Cheese.
The proteins are Chicken, Sausage, Bacon, Shrimp, Steak, and Egg. And the sauces — besides Sour Cream, Melted Cheddar, Ketchup, and BBQ — include Mustard Aioli, Ranch Aioli, Curry Aioli, Chipotle Aioli, Truffle Aioli, Savory Bacon Aioli, and Roasted Pepper Aioli.
All these choices are on the menu under “Build Your Own/Follow Steps 1 - 4.” As I have previously expressed here, I tend to get ruffled by Steps. But for the Step-averse, there is “Signature Meals/Leave It To The Potato Experts.” The Potato Experts offer seven Step-free selections.
These include Frequent Friers, comprising “Shoestring, House Salt & Pepper, Parmesan Cheese, Parsley, Garlic with Parmo Aioli,” and Smashed Hit — pictured here — combining “Smashed Potato, House Salt & Pepper, Cheddar Cheese, Asiago Cheese, Scallion, Red Onion, Garlic, Cilantro with Roasted Pepper Aioli.”
Not unprecedented, though. Potatopia had an out-of-town tryout. Its first store opened two years ago in, inventively, Edison, New Jersey. But its founder, Allen Dikker, acknowledges that he opened it with the goal of opening his second store in New York.
He anointed potatoes, he says, because “everything else is out there.” In a city with restaurants like OatMeals, that’s more or less true. He conducted aioli experiments at home to assemble his roster of sauces. Not surprisingly, he’s now at work on an all-potato cookbook.
|Before the grand opening.|
Still, he also acknowledges that I’m far from the only person who is perturbed by the profusion of potato possibilities. As the store manager, Albert Sierra, told me: “In the beginning, people find it a little intimidating. But by the second or third time, they get used to it.”
Weigh your options at Potatopia, 378 Sixth Avenue, between Waverly Place and West Eighth Street, New York City.POTATOPIA HAS A LOT — BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE A KNISH. FOR THAT, YOU NEED THE CENTURY-OLD YONAH SCHIMMEL KNISH BAKERY. FIND YONAH SCHIMMEL, ALONG WITH OF DOZENS OF OTHER CLASSIC CITY SPOTS, IN THE AMAZON BEST SELLER “DISCOVERING VINTAGE NEW YORK”!