Gibby’s Fries are fresh-cut homemade French fries that can only be found at carnivals, festivals, and fairs during the summer months. We dropped in on the Huron Community fair during Sunday’s set up. Gibby’s was already doing business, and the fryers were hot. We also take a look at where we’re French fries invented and the types of french fries out there. The answer may surprise you.
A Michigan Fair Treat – Hot Gibby’s French Fries
This family-owned company is based in Traverse City. During the summer, Gibby’s Concessions travel around the state and can be found at county fairs, carnivals, and special events. Gibby’s constantly ranks as the top fried spud in yearly peoples choice votes in the state.
The Secret of the Gibby’s Fries Cooking
Their cooking process is simple but a bit unique. Freshly cleaned potatoes quickly sliced, then plunged into a series of six deep fryers. The last dip is this hottest to brown and crisp the creation. The resulting bit of gastronomic heaven is poured dripping golden brown into a paper boat container, then handed over the counter. Veterans of this process grab this scalding hot bunch of spuds with a paper towel and head to the side of the stand for dressing up.
Gibby’s Fries – Ketchup vs. Malt Vinegar
It’s an important choice, to dress or not to dress. These homemade french fries are so good many dive in right away. However, I make a beeline to the coarse ground salt and vinegar. Never Ketchup. I always use a good malt vinegar at home but at the county fair, all that’s available is white vinegar dispensed with a pump on top of a gallon jug. Sparingly used, the tart and salt seem to spring the taste buds into life. The secret is to eat them while still hot and firm. They don’t age well and will turn into a limp sticky mess quickly.
Gibby’s Fries Are At All the Cool Fairs
Gibby’s is a mainstay throughout Michigan and at the Huron County Fair. I always look forward to sharing an order with the kids. Admittedly imbibing in this comes with a tinge of guilt but gives me an excuse to avoid the Tilt-a-Whirl. However, the crispy outside and perfectly cooked fluffy potato are worth waiting for and the trip to the fair. When doing a little research, I was surprised to find that Gibby’s is headquartered in Traverse City, has been in operations since the 1940s, and its own fan page on Facebook.
Gibby’s Concessions During the 2020 Pandemic
2020 was a tough year for outside entertainment venues. County fairs were canceled. Local carnivals and church fairs were postponed.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle noted that Gibby’s Concessions Owner Jamie Hansen said they brought their food trailer to a local store in May and stayed through the month’s end.
“We saw our friends downstate were doing similar pop-ups so we decided to try one,” she said. “Our events through the middle of August are canceled. We’re finding ways to make some money and get ourselves working.”
Later in the Summer, we found Gibby’s had set itself up alongside some other food trucks at local hardware stores in Bad Axe, the village Green in Port Austin, and Caro.
Hopefully we will find Gibby’s of Northern Michigan at our local Huron Community fair in Bad Axe this summer.
Gibby’s French Fies in Traverse City
Where were French Fries Invented?
The origins of who first invented the concept of the French fry or “Pomme Frits” ( The French word for potato is “pomme de Terre,” or “fruit of the earth” ) looks not to have been from France but a short distance north. It was Belgium, where historians claim potatoes were being fried up in the 1600s. Villagers sliced potatoes and fried them with small fish. Thus, the first fast food may have originated as Fish and Chips, and French Fries came out of the same economic cooking method.
During World War I, American soldiers stationed in Belgium learned about this simple way to fry up spuds. Since the Belgians spoke French, the doughboys nicknamed the fried potatoes “French fries.” The name stuck, and France underhandly got the credit.
In Belgium, French fries are served with homemade mayonnaise. The UK likes its malt vinegar, while over in Canada, Quebec’s province has exported entre of fries are smothered in beef gravy and cheese curds for a hangover cure concoction called Poutine. These influences came to America; the homemade french fries the Gibby’s makes are delicious for their simplicity.
Related Reading About Food and Fun in Michigan
Huron Community Fair Celebrates 150 years – The highlight festival time in the Thumb kicks off this year at the 150th Huron Community Fair, running Sunday through Saturday, July 29 – August 4th! The fair opens Sunday, July 29, with free parking.
13 of the Best Attractions in Michigan Thumb – With over 90 miles of shoreline, Michigan’s Thumb offers plenty of attractions. There is always something to do or see near the tip of the Thumb. Most are free, the fun is finding and exploring things to do in Michigan’s Upper Thumb. How many have you been to?
How to Fry Up the Most Perfect Walleye – Walleye is a freshwater fish native to Canada and the Northern United States. This tasty fish is also called Walleye Pike and Yellow Walleye. It gets it name from its eyes which can see in turbid deep waters. It is a white, tender, mild tasting fish that is sought out by sportsmen and commercial fisheries in the Great Lakes. Our tips can be applied to any firm fish that can be fried.
Buy Awesome Pasties at Caseville Helping Hands Thrift Store – Helping Hands Thrift Shop on Main Street in Caseville. This is a mission of the Caseville United Methodist Church and is one of the most highly rated thrift shops in the region according to ratings on Yelp and Google. While not as big as those in the metro Detroit area, its clean, well-stocked and seems to turnover its inventory at a rapid pace.