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Free fries in honor of J.R. Simplot

All McDonald’s restaurants in the Treasure Valley are offering a free small order of french fries with purchase during the lunch hour today, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in honor of the late J.R. Simplot. “He gave Idaho potatoes their golden glow,” declares a gold-colored flier posted on the door of Boise-area McDonald’s. “Enjoy what he made famous.”

Simplot marketed the first commercially viable frozen french fries in the world in the early 1950s, which became a staple side order at McDonald’s. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, asked about the french-fry tribute, said, “I think there’s no secret that there was a tremendous partnership between (McDonald’s founder) Ray Kroc and Jack Simplot. That continues, as it should, long after both of them are gone.”

Simplot, Idaho’s potato baron and microchip magnate, died a week ago at the age of 99, and was remembered at a public memorial service yesterday at the Qwest Arena in downtown Boise.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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