McDonald’s testing garlic fries in San Jose area

McDonald’s is testing out “Gilroy Garlic Fries” at four San Jose-area restaurants.
McDonald’s is testing out “Gilroy Garlic Fries” at four San Jose-area restaurants. Screenshot via @McD_BayArea on Twitter

Fries, with a side of breath mints?

McDonald’s said Tuesday it is testing garlic fries in a handful of restaurants, a nod to its efforts to experiment with core menu items and focus more on food quality, freshness and taste.

The “Gilroy Garlic Fries” — named for Gilroy, a city famous for its garlic crop — are offered in four restaurants in the Bay Area with the potential to expand to 250 in the area in August, depending on customer feedback. The test locations are 1398 W. San Carlos St., 2191 Monterey Road and 4838 San Felipe Road, all in San Jose; and 3509 Homestead Road in Santa Clara.

Nick Vergis, president of the local franchisee division, said the response so far has been “very positive.”

The french fries are topped fresh when ordered by tossing them with garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and salt.

McDonald’s menus can vary widely depending on location, and the world’s largest burger chain said it’s putting more of an emphasis on using locally sourced foods and flavors on its menus. A typical menu has about 120 to 140 items, including size variations, and about 100 of those are specific to a region.

The chain, based in suburban Chicago, said late last month that menu and kitchen changes enabled it to report a 35 percent jump in first-quarter profit and U.S. sales growth that was better than expected.

McDonald’s also announced in April that it is testing a bigger and a smaller version of the Big Mac, called the Grand Mac and Mac Jr.

The San Jose Mercury News contributed to this report.