Much like our fascination with Jell-O, Arctic Circle is definitively Utahn. It has stayed in our hearts — and bellies — for over 60 years.
Originally founded in Salt Lake City on 135 East and 9th South, Arctic Circle has since spread to Wyoming, Washington, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon. Its primary existence, however, is in Utah, with over 50 percent of the restaurants located in the Beehive State.
For me, going to Arctic Circle is always a nostalgic experience. It takes me to memories of lime rickeys, mint shakes and mini corn dogs in a springtime car ride, with my parents and ‘80s music humming along in the background.
For a lot of Utahns, there is a sense of comfort when you see that blue, red and white sign. It’s a reminder that you’re home or close to it. But that’s not where Arctic Circle’s influence ends, though.
Arctic Circle is the self-proclaimed inventor of fry sauce, a regional staple that most Utahns can’t live without.
I remember the first time I went out of state and asked for fry sauce. I was met with a confused, slightly off-put, glare from the waitress.
How could fry sauce, this perfect delicious concoction of mayo and ketchup, not exist everywhere? Insanity.
Now, Arctic Circle is not high-class dining, and everyone understands that. It’s one of those places you go when there’s nothing else around or if you have a specific craving for it. It isn’t trendy, new or remotely healthy, but it’s close to your heart when you need it.
The idea of places without an Arctic Circle close by still baffles me, but part of me is still glad it’s our little secret.
The ultimate benefit of Arctic Circle is that pretty much wherever you go in the Salt Lake Valley, you’re never more than 15 minutes away from one.
It’s a great option when you just want something good, fast and inexpensive. One could even say that’s the ideal spot for a college student between classes.
Options for students on some Salt Lake Community College campuses are, to put it lightly, abysmal. Luckily, Arctic Circle has your back.
There are locations by South City, Taylorsville Redwood, Jordan, Meadowbrook and Miller campuses. Whether you’re in the mood for a burger, Yukon-gold fries, a shake, or even a taco salad, Arctic Circle will be there to fill you up.
Being a staple in food is hard, but having existed since 1950, it’s safe to say Arctic Circle is not going anywhere soon — and I, for one, am happy with that.