COEUR d'ALENE - As the lunchtime crowd at Hudson's chowed down on burgers and French fries - yes, french fries - Steve Hudson had just one thing to say.
"Don't anybody get used to this," he said with a big grin.
The century-old Sherman Avenue eatery, well known for never, ever serving french fries, had 25 sides delivered free to its customers on Thursday, courtesy of Bonsai Bistro chef Troy Chandler.
"They're delicious. I love them," said 10-year-old Jack Beaumont as he sat with mom LaDonna and his 12-year-old sister, Emma.
"It's a nice special treat, but I'm glad it's an April Fools joke because Hudson's wouldn't be the same if it was filled with the smell of fries," LaDonna added with a laugh.
Chandler was all smiles, too, as he explained why he planned the April 1 antic.
It was six years ago that he first went to eat at Hudson's and said what hundreds, perhaps thousands, have said through the years.
"I'd like some french fries with that burger, please."
And when Chandler went to pay, he pulled out his credit card.
No credit cards.
"It took me two months to learn how to eat there," he said. "I eat there every week ever since."
And he continues to hear people asking for fries.
"I feel sorry for the poor guys at Hudson's," Chandler said with a chuckle.
It was last week, while eating fries at Bonsai that he ordered a Hudson's burger. It was then he came up with the great potato prank.
So when Cafe Courier deliveryman Rick Halberg walked in Thursday, he turned over a note that read: "For over 100 years, Hudson's has not had the presence of a fried potato product. This is not the Hudson way until today. French fries for everyone on April Fools Day. Love, Troy Louis Chandler and the Bonsai crew."
Customers laughed as Halberg handed out the fries, and in just a few minutes the smell of freshly cooked taters overwhelmed the scent of sizzling burgers.
"This is why we don't have fries," Steve Hudson said.
While everyone gobbled up the fries, few said Hudson's should serve them.
"It doesn't seem right. You can't get fries, you can't get straws," said Adam Fehling.
Sharen Robertson and Bob Wilson of Spokane stopped in for lunch at Hudson's during their shopping trip to downtown Coeur d'Alene.
"I was going to have fries, but I noticed they didn't have it on the menu," Robertson said as she dipped a fry in ketchup.
Wilson has been coming to Hudson's for years, and never had fries.
"I came on the right day," he said with a grin.
Steve Hudson, co-owner of Hudson's with brother Todd, laughed at Chandler's joke, but said he was busy enough keeping plain burgers, cheeseburgers and double cheeseburgers flying off the broiler.
"I can barely get this done, let alone fries or shakes or anything else," he said with a laugh.
While customers can keep asking for fries, they won't get them.
"That will never happen," Steve Hudson said.
Rick Halberg, with Cafe Courier, delivers 25 orders of french fries to Hudson's Hamburgers customers.