Realtor David Fry has been in the real estate business for 28 years. But some people don’t know that another one of his passions is smoking ribs, which may be a new business venture. 

Fry grew up in White Bear Lake and now lives in Hugo. Around 10-15 years ago, Fry was frustrated that he could never find ribs he was satisfied with. 

“I just couldn’t find any the way I liked them,” he recalled. “(Perhaps) it’s just the way I’m wired. I said heck with it, I’m going to figure this out.” 

Fry searched Craigslist, purchased a gas smoker, and started putting it through its paces. “I found out with gas you can’t regulate the heat … One time I opened that thing up and I had nothing but flames shooting out.” 

Fry gave it another go. He hopped onto Craigslist again, this time to find an electric smoker. He found and purchased a commercial smoker. Fry experimented until he got the ribs to turn out just how he liked them. He then began sharing them with others. He would often invite people over for dinner.

“I love a small dinner party. If you let me smoke my ribs, make my mac and cheese … everyone can sit down, have a good meal, good conversation. That’s heaven to me,” Fry explained. 

On Tuesdays, Fry said he would serve his ribs at “Realtors Open.” He would invite local Realtors to a house on the market and not only make enough ribs for the agents, but also the sellers. He recalled one time he had a seller who traveled often for work. “He said, ‘I have traveled the country and I love ribs … I would put your ribs in the top 5,’” Fry said. 

One day, Fry was chatting with someone in his office when the two started bragging about whose ribs were better. Ten minutes later, the pair came up with the idea to host a rib contest at Lions Park in Hugo as a fundraiser for the Hugo Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network. The annual event was held three years in a row but couldn’t be held in 2020 because of the pandemic. 

At one year’s competition, Fry took on one of his friends, Al Landreville, who owns Alleycat’s Gourmet Sandwiches in White Bear Lake. (If you ask Landreville, he won the contest. If you ask Fry, he came out on top.) 

Fry said he has had several people tell him that he needs to do something with his ribs, but he was not interested in opening a restaurant. He was bouncing ideas off of Landreville, who suggested he try out his secret recipe at Alleycat’s. 

“One of the guys that worked for the previous owner had heard that ribs were one of the more popular items.” Landreville explained.

Customers started asking, “When are you going to bring the ribs back?” Landreville said, “I know Dave’s product, and I knew it was good.” 

Although the partnership has only been in place for a couple of months, Landreville said customers are loving The Fry Guy’s Ribs. Depending on how it goes, Fry’s ribs may become a permanent addition to the menu. 

Over the years, Fry has experimented with smoking brisket, pulled pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, shrimp and more. Perhaps some of those items may find their way to Alleycat’s in the future.  

Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or

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