What is a Hangtown Fry?

A. A Friday night fish-fry in Wisconsin

B. A Chicago-style fried all-beef hotdog

C. An omelet made with bacon and oysters

D. Loaded Texas chili cheese fries


According to the newsletter Discover California, Hangtown Fry is an omelet that includes bacon and oysters. It is thought to have originated in Placerville, California (once known as “Hangtown”) during the Gold Rush. According to the City of Placerville, the dish’s creator may have been a hungry prospector who, after striking it rich, rushed into a saloon and asked for the most expensive meal he could buy. The cook explained that eggs, bacon and oysters were the most costly foods in the kitchen. The prospector asked him to cook them all up together, and voilà—Hangtown Fry was born. The dish has since become a specialty in local restaurants such as the Buttercup Pantry, which has a disclaimer on the menu warning that not everyone likes the combination.

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