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SALT LAKE CITY -- There's California cuisine and Southern-style food, but people in Utah don't have much to claim as our own, food-wise. What we can claim as our own is fry sauce.
The creation of fry sauce
It was originally called "pink sauce," and was something designed to go on burgers. Sometime between 1941 and 1943, Chef Don Carlos Edwards dipped a fry in it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Edwards was so impressed with pink sauce on fries, he had his friends and customers sample it.
"They fell in love with it," says Arctic Circle CEO Gary Roberts. "From that point on, anyone who had been there that day in history, who came into the restaurant, they asked if they could get some 'fry sauce' to dip their fries in."
Fry sauce is actually older than the Arctic Circle chain. The pink stuff was created in what used to be known as Don Carlos Barbecue.
Edwards expanded his restaurant business in 1950 when he created the first Arctic Circle in Salt Lake City, just a block away from his barbecue joint.
Eventually, Don Carlos Barbecue was converted into another Arctic Circle.
What's in the mix?Roberts says his company's famous fry sauce contains more than just ketchup and mayonnaise.
"We have a lot of other ingredients that we add to it, which are secret. We don't share those with anybody," he says.
After I begged for the recipe, Roberts admitted they add dill pickle juice, but his lips were sealed on the rest of the ingredients.
Fry sauce love grows outside of Utah
Roberts says when fry sauce was first sent to Washington, customers there didn't really know what to make of it, and ketchup outsold fry sauce 20-1.
"After about a year, it just reversed itself. All of the sudden, fry sauce was a popular item up there also," Roberts says.
He says the company goes through 168 gallons of fry sauce every day.
You may think fry sauce most popular in Utah, but that's not necessarily the case.
"We have an awards banquet every year, and we give awards for stores that sell the most of certain, specific products, one of which is [bottles of] fry sauce," Roberts explains. "The store that won it the last year was Newport, Oregon."
Roberts says he still gets letters from people who no longer live in Utah who want to find where they can buy the mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise, dill pickle juice and whatever "secret ingredients" Arctic Circle puts in fry sauce.
The company usually sends one free bottle of fry sauce to the person writing them, but they'll also tell the person how they can buy it through the company's distributor.