Homemade fries, toppings, give new Milford eatery a niche
Jonathan Gibbons first made his mark on the New Haven food truck scene with his Fryborg brand specializing in fresh fried potatoes and specialty dipping sauces.
He still has the wheels, but recently he opened a small eatery at 215 Bridgeport Ave. offering his unique fries and a small menu of other signature foods.
“It’s definitely exhausting but I enjoy it,” Gibbons, 40, said. “I get excited when I come up with a new sauce.”
And when people love his food?
“It’s the best thing ever,” he said.
The idea to someday serve homemade French fries with dipping sauce was hatched when Gibbons was 25 and backpacking through Europe after college. He has a bachelor’s degree in English. While in Belgium he tasted Pomme frites — or fried potatoes — with sauces to pour over them, fell in love with the taste and thought, “Nobody really does this back home.”
But it wasn’t easy to start a business, so he worked in high-end restaurants and bars for 10 years before taking the leap six years ago and buying a food truck.
“I decided I was ready not to answer to someone. I wanted to be my own boss,” Gibbons said. “ It was terrifying to take that leap of faith”
He opened the Fryborg truck in New Haven in August 2012, tweaked the offerings as he went along and became a favorite among the Yale crowd and others downtown.
The name of the business — Fryborg — is a takeoff on the Cyborg fictional aliens from the Star Trek movies. The cyborgs forcibly transform individual beings into drones. They are linked to the phrase, “You will be assimilated; resistance is futile.” And since Gibbons believes resisting his French Fries is futile it was perfect for his business slogan, “Resistance is Futile.”
At the new eatery, there are two tables — much of the business is to go — and the décor is simple, the dark walls intended to reflect a Cyborg space ship.
He cuts his fries from real potatoes and his unique, homemade dipping sauces — recipes he devised — including curry ketchup, thousand island, pesto mayo, garlic siracha, buffalo ranch, mango, herbes de provence, and dip specials that change every day, including recently, date, bacon and apple mayo, avocado and jalapeno.
There are also more substantial toppings, including, “The Dutch,” — mayo, curry ketchup and raw onion; “Cheesy Bacon,” with cheese and bacon; “Italian” with pesto mayo, tomato and parmesan and “Assimilation” — another cyborg play — topped with fried eggs, cheese sauce, thousand island dressing and raw onion.
These days he has a staff and the Fryborg truck is mainly used for catering of birthday parties, weddings, bar mitzvah, anniversaries, big event after parties, corporate gatherings. This weekend the truck was headed to a gig in Long Island and he has had some pretty special ones, including outside the Belgium consulate in Manhattan, where he received raves from the organizer who invited his truck.
He does some food-truck festivals, and the truck still appears in New Haven, but not regularly. He bought a spot at College and Grove streets where he returns three days a week for six months when Yale University is in session.
He describes his menu as “Simple food, but we try to do it well.”
His hot dogs are Hummel’s brand, because, “ I won’t mess with perfection, they’re local, they’re the best,” and his Angus burgers are specially seasoned; the steak on his steak sandwiches from grass-fed beef.
He also carries his own brand of soda, “Fryborg Fizz,” and created flavors such as pistachio cream, coconut cream pie, lavender lemon. The coconut cream pie was specially created for a wedding customer. Gibbons will also design special recipes for catering customers.
Gibbons, who grew up in Bethany and graduated from Amity High School, said “I was always fascinated by the food industry and didn’t know why.”
His first job was as a hot-dog vender for the New Haven Ravens and Gibbons said he loved it, because he got to sell good hot dogs and meet Derek Jeter.
Gibbons, who lives in Milford, said his girlfriend, Julie Avellino, is fabulously supportive and helpful with social media, staff organization and getting him “centered” again when he goes too far afield creatively.