When food trucks in Connecticut started to become more prevalent, there was one I remembered well. The name “Fryborg” definitely stood out, and the fact that they specialized in hand-cut fries didn’t suck either. I first stumbled upon Fryborg around the time Two Roads Brewing Company opened in Stratford, so that “stumble” was a real one after multiple pints in the brewery’s upstairs tasting room. It was then that Fryborg’s bacon, egg, and cheese fries and their marinara-laden pizza fries perfectly complimented my buzz. If I had to render a guess, I’m not in the minority on similar experiences.
The food truck still exists, but if you’ve cruised around Bridgeport Avenue in Milford’s Devon section, maybe you noticed a Fryborg brick-and-mortar. Or if you blinked, you missed it. That’s what this is for, so you won’t miss it, so you can learn a little more about Fryborg, and its creator, Jonathan Gibbons.
Gibbons’ journey that ultimately led to frying potatoes started when he was a teenager in Bethany, but also spent lots of time in Milford where his grandparents lived. “I worked on and off in some capacity in the restaurant industry since I was 16,” he said. “I was even a hot dog vendor for the New Haven Ravens back in the day.”
His interest in culinary arts made him an adventurous eater to the surprise of his parents, who he says, “could eat the same eight things for the rest of their lives.” But him? He wanted to try anything and everything. Mom and dad couldn’t understand where that even came from. They did, however, like to travel. As he got older, Gibbons convinced his parents—who normally went to the same places on repeat—to go anywhere they wouldn’t usually go.
Eventually, it all led him to Philadelphia, where he attended Saint Joseph’s University. It was in Philly that he came upon Monk’s Café, a small beer bar in the city’s Rittenhouse area famous for its Belgian cuisine, including pommes frites. “Being in Philly got me more interested in travel because it’s big university city, so there’s a lot of international vibe,” Gibbons said. “I backpacked around Europe with my first stop being Belgium because of all the Belgian beer and food I had at places like Monk’s.”
By the time he got back to the area, he knew he wanted to do something for himself, and he realized that very few businesses centered around fries. He also really liked the frites in Belgium. “Pommes Frites wasn’t even in New York City then, Rudy’s in New Haven was maybe the only one,” Gibbons said.
Before Fryborg could be born, there was a short period of trial-and-error for a guy who was never a chef, nor did he ever work a line. Gibbons just took an interest in every restaurant he worked in. “I only worked in restaurants that I would eat at as a customer,” he said. “I learned a lot by asking questions, talking to chefs and owners, and by watching Alton Brown on Good Eats.”
The experimentation phase involved a switch from thin-cut julienne fries, to thicker fresh cuts because he liked them better. Then it was about finding the proper potato. Gibbons uses Russet Potatoes, specifically the Burbank Russet because it cooks lighter due to its lower sugar and starch content.
All of that is a result of what you may have experienced if you’ve been lucky to catch the Fryborg truck at a local event or brewery. Now, though, you have the chance to grab Fryborg’s creations on the regular at their physical location that opened at the end of summer.
It’s there where you’ll find guilty pleasure fried deliciousness. Sure, plain fries with your choice of an array of homemade sauces is totally allowed. But I’d seriously advise trying one of Fryborg’s originals. The Assimilation Fries (fried egg, cheese sauce, homemade Thousand Island dressing, chopped onion) is one of those. This creamy, salty, eggy concoction is basically a better take on In-N-Out’s animal style fries. Other fried notables are the habit-forming Italian Fries—covered in sharp parmesan, fresh tomatoes, and a pesto mayo that really pops—and Gibbons’ version of a currywurst with grilled red hots, curry ketchup, and onion.
There’s more here, too. Hot dogs, fresh Angus beef burgers, salads, and grilled cheese sandwiches (plus dessert sandwiches) round out the menu. What you should be on the lookout for is whatever the sausage sandwich special may be. In the past, they’ve rolled out andouille, venison and mushroom sausage, and one that I tried, the Toulouse, a pork and shallot sausage with white bean spread and roasted artichokes. Hopefully that one becomes a menu mainstay.
If you glance inside the cooler, you’ll notice lots of different Connecticut made sodas from Foxon Park and Avery’s. Then there’s a Fryborg “brand” (actually made by Avery’s) in three interesting (but tasty) flavors; Pistachio, Lavender Lemon, and Coconut Cream Pie. Give one a whirl.
Most of it is total cheat meal stuff, but I suppose here, Frydays aren’t just for Fridays anymore. Fryday at Fryborg is any day you’d like it to be.
217 Bridgeport Avenue; Milford
(203) 283-7515; www.fryborg.com/