By Alison Geisler
10:25 AM EST, December 5, 2012
The Elm City has not been immune to the food truck/cart explosion of the last couple years. We're starting to see mobile gourmet eats parked a few feet from regular neighborhood staples like hot dogs, burritos and Chinese food to-go. A recent be-wheeled entry to the New Haven food scene is Jon Gibbons' Fryborg. Yeah, like the Star Trek thing. Kind of. "I wanted a name somebody would remember," Gibbons, says, adding that people ask him all the time if he's a fan of the series. People have even told him they approve of his food truck, but really only stopped in because of the name. We think that once you experience Fryborg you'll keep returning — again and again.
Gibbons, 35, who worked in local restaurants for a long time, including Mikro and Delaney's, decided it was time to be his own boss, and that a food truck would be much more manageable than his own restaurant. After being blown away by the frites on a trip to Belgium nearly a decade ago, Gibbons decided to bring the tasty treat to his homeland. This makes two locations in New Haven serving up Belgian frites as a specialty, adding to the already well-frequented Rudy's. "I certainly think that if there's room for 9,000 places in New Haven that do pizza, there's room for two who do french fries," Gibbons says.
Fryborg's frites are both crispy and moist, with a perfect balance of the crunchy bits and long, potato-y pieces. You have your choice of many dipping sauces, including a few kinds of ketchup (regular, spicy, curry, etc.), mustards, mayos, and other inventive varieties of condiments. Fryborg's frites can also be had as a meal, with his specialty toppings added to the pile. On the day we visited, the Chicken Pot Fries were on special ($8), and boy were they delicious. Picture a mound of fries covered with chicken, carrots, celery, peas and two halved biscuits, to be eaten with a fork. You can also stab prongs into the BLT Fries (shredded lettuce, diced tomato, chopped bacon and mayo, $6.50), the Italian Fries (pesto mayo, tomato, Pecorino cheese, $6.50), and the Dutch Fries (curry ketchup, mayo, minced onion, $6).
But don't ruin your appetite with just frites. Fryborg also grills up the best in comfort food that you can fit between two slices of bread. There is the Grade School Grilled Cheese ($6), and you know exactly what that means. "When I want a grilled cheese, I want buttered bread, American cheese, and gooey goodness. I want the kind of grilled cheese I used to have in the 4th grade," Gibbons says. The pre-adolescent gluttony does not end there. You can have your dessert and eat it for lunch, too: Fryborg serves up grilled fluffernutters with bacon, and grilled Nutella sandwiches with either pumpkin or strawberry ($6.50). They are, without a doubt, the sweetest, most inner-child-satisfying sandwiches you'll ever eat. We promise. "I'm trying to do something that's pretty fun and neat," Gibbons says. It's working.
And while all of this sounds like it should be washed down your gullet with a nice, frosty beer, Gibbons had to choose another beverage in a glass bottle to serve as he's not allowed to serve beer from the truck. In its place are sodas from Foxon Park, Avery's in New Britain, and Hank's in Philadelphia ($2). Gibbons drives to Philly to get Hank's, as the company doesn't currently distribute to this area. These sodas are all made with real sugar. "I don't sell anything with high-fructose corn syrup," says Gibbons. "I do get people that stop by just to get soda, which I think is pretty cool."
"You gotta love this business to do it, and try to make it. And I do, so that's why I try," Gibbons says. "I'm having fun, and hopefully I can keep doing it for a little while."
Fryborg is typically out on the streets during the weekday, and maybe an event or two here and there in the area on weekends. Keep up with the truck's whereabouts at facebook.com/fryborgtruck or @FryborgTruck on Twitter.
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