Fast Food Review: French Fries and Fry Sauce from Arctic Circle

If you’ve ever seen a Food Network or Travel Channel show about a restaurant in Utah – and don’t lie and say you haven’t – than you’ve probably heard about fry sauce. To sum it up, it’s basically a big deal out here. But for a longtime East Coaster like me, it doesn’t really make sense. I mean, what the heck is wrong with ketchup? Still, my native Ute friends keep telling me that I need to be more open minded about fry sauce, which is basically a Thousand Island/Russian Dressing type condiment.

Figuring it couldn’t be any worse than ketchup, I finally decided to give Fry Sauce it’s chance, and did so at the place of it’s invention: Arctic Circle.

A small order of Arctic Circle fries is a very reasonable 99 cents. While Arctic Circle loves to tout their shakes and Black Angus Beef, don’t be fooled – their fried food is some of the best you’ll find at any fast food joint in the country. Their fries are no exception. These little guys – with the same thickness as Wendy’s Old fries – are tremendous. Their uniform in cut and display a crispy exterior with a generous amount of oil and salt attached. My batch yielded fluffy interiors on almost each and every fry, with maybe 4-5 % of the batch coming in as somewhat soggy on the outside and gummy on the inside. But in all, they were nearly perfect in texture and taste, and although the potato flavor was not the strongest, they didn’t have any off flavors associated with them via the frying process.

As for fry sauce – well, I still don’t get it. It actually seems thinner than ketchup, and less sweet. There is a hint of lemony tang, but I really didn’t get much of a sweet relish flavor. The texture just didn’t seem ideal for dipping, and the sweetness wasn’t enough to foil the crispiness and savory oil of the fries.

I know some people swear by fry sauce, but really, can you go wrong with ketchup. To be fair, I don’t not likeUtah’s favorite condiment, I guess I just don’t understand the draw to it. As for the fries though, take my word for it in that they really are very good at Arctic Circle. I realize my status as a fry connoisseur has been called into question given the Wendy’s switch, but just know that Arctic Circle’s fries are solid – if not flashy – representations of fried potato goodness. Better yet, take Todd Jones’ word for it. My buddy Todd was of the opinion that these fries were nothing special. Given the fact that Todd also thinks the new Wendy’s fries are the best fries in the world, and you shouldn’t find two and two that hard to put together.

Pros: Perfectly crisp outside yields to fluffy interior. Good salt support. Good size portion for small order. Very few limp fries and even fewer with gummy interiors.

Cons: Not the most intense potato flavor. Fries may have some sort of exterior batter to promote crispiness. Somewhat plain as is. Minimalist fry that won't blow you away if you like bells and whistles. Fry sauce myth is overrated.

Taste: 9.00/10 (Fries), 6.50/10 (Fry Sauce)
Value: 9.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: .99 cents for small order

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
Arctic Circle Fries (small)
Calories: 258
Total Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: N/A
Sodium: 124 mg
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Total Carbs: 30 g
Protein: 4 g

17 comments on “Fast Food Review: French Fries and Fry Sauce from Arctic Circle

  1. Salymsmommy says:

    We mix equal parts ketchup and mayo to use as a dip. Looks similar to that ‘special’ sauce….

    • J.B. says:

      Damn, you stole my secret recipe.
      I have been making that for years.
      Way back in the day KFC used to make burgers and they were awesome and they had a great sauce and I spent time trying to figure it out and I came up with the mixing of ketchup and mayo.
      Best sauce ever.

  2. Kristopher says:

    I sent Artic Circle corporate a letter a week ago, inquiring about how to buy a bottle of their fry sauce. I haven’t heard back yet.

  3. Francois says:

    Fry sauce is one of those things where everybody has their own recipe and, to be honest, while they’re “the original”, Arctic Circle’s fry sauce isn’t that great. Watered down.

  4. Justin says:

    I was at a Wendy’s in Utah a decade ago; I had never heard of fry sauce but every customer was requesting it and being handed little plastic containers of something pink from behind the counter. I asked about it and tried it and said to my friend: “It’s Thousand Island.” You should have seen the dirty looks I got for saying that.

  5. rob says:

    The best fry sauce in the world is a Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty.

  6. Vivian says:

    I stumbled on to your blog a while ago and have been reading for a while, and I have to say I love it! I defintley get major cravings after reading and I love the whole “just eat anything” kind of philosophy! Will be returning to read more!

  7. Aimee says:

    Mayo + Ketchup = Fancy Sauce. Thank you, Stepbrothers.

    I always wanted the recipe for Ed’s sauce in Good Burger. Your pic is what reminded me of that. 🙂

    • Adam says:

      LOL I love Ed. I carry all my own condiments around and when people ask me things like, “you have your own peanut butter,” I give them the old, “what, doesn’t evebody?” Of course, they don’t have any idea what I’m talking about!

  8. Todd says:

    Haha Adam. It seems like you used to love the Wendy’s fries. You said, “These new fries are some of the best of the fast food market today.”

  9. Nick T says:

    1) Some places do fry sauce really, really well. Off the top of my head I can think of Pommes Frites and Fairway Market in NYC.

    2) I don’t think your credibility on fries has come into question at all. The new Wendy’s fries are a huge upgrade and your review was spot-on.

  10. ChrisLad says:

    I’ve never understood why something deep fried in fat (french fries) need to be dipped into semi-solid fat (mayo, salad dressing, w/e)

  11. somesteve says:

    those look like solid fries.

  12. Jacki W. says:

    I try to use Dimples BBQ Sauce on my fries whenever possible. It is sweet like ketchup but with a little bit of tangy.

  13. Kevin says:

    My parents owned an Arctic Circle in NE for many years in the ’70’s and early 80’s. To this day, my friends still ask me for the recipe.