Fry Sauce: The Story Of Utah’s Favorite Condiment
Many years ago I was living in Wisconsin, and I had a roommate from Utah. We were eating French fries, and I watched as my roommate took a glob of mayonnaise and a squirt of ketchup, and then began mixing them together on his plate. I asked him what he was doing.
Okay, I actually said, “what on earth is wrong with you?!!”
He told me that he was making "fry sauce". Something I had never heard of before, and I thought maybe he was just raised in a weird family. Well he wasn’t, he was just raised in Utah.
I have to admit at first, I thought the concept of fry sauce was gross. But after living in Utah for some time, I’ve warmed up to the condiment and I’ve come to realize that it’s not just a pink sauce, IT’S A THOUSAND ANGELS HUGGING MY TASTEBUDS ALL AT ONCE.
But wait, isn’t fry sauce just ketchup and mayonnaise?
Turns out it’s not. There’s more to it, and to explore the origin story of this Utah original, we need to go back to Pioneer Day, 1924.
A young entrepreneur named Don Carlos Edwards set up a tiny refreshment stand at a pioneer day celebration in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He did this every year for a while, honing his skills and putting in his 10,000 hours.
That simple refreshment stand gained him enough notoriety and experience to branch out and open his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Don Carlos Arctic Circle, BBQ in Salt Lake City.
It was here through experimentation that Don Carlos first created his signature secret white sauce. What was in the secret white sauce? We’re not sure. If we did know, then it wouldn’t be secret anymore, duh-doy.
But what happened from the secret white sauce base, was later experimented upon by other franchisees, mixing ketchup and other ingredients to create the perfect kick. The Deseret News did an impressive story on this topic, and if you have extra time I would highly suggest you give it a read.
But long story short, fry sauce was started in Utah, perfected in Utah, and took off like a rocket right here in Utah thanks to the efforts of Don Carlos Edwards.
Today, the little burger stand that birthed a Utah claim to fame, Arctic Circle is a franchise with over 70 locations in 7 states.
This author feels so strongly about Fry Sauce, that it got a bit personal.