grub: The Great Garlic Mishap 

Richard Ryder invents Flynn's Garlic Sauce

“I pop it like candy all day long,” Ryder says, crushing another cigarette. “Can you smell me from there?” I leaned across the table we were sharing and ventured a sniff. Yes, I said, I believed I could. It seemed to make him proud.

Ryder is proud of his garlic sauce — it’s called Flynn’s, after his Belgian sheepdog — and proud of its infinite uses as a burger mix, a vegetable dip, a salad dressing, a condiment, a spread. The stuff, he says, was a complete accident, a mishap that’s now selling faster than he can make it. Six-thousand bottles have gone out the door since he started making it last fall. It retails for around $2.99 a bottle.

“In Germany, I used to take garlic powder and olive oil and spread it on bread,” he says of his early days experimenting. Just for the heck of it, one day he mixed in a little red wine. “Just piddlin’,” he says. Piddlin’ is also what compelled him to chuck applesauce into the mix, and consequently, a third of a cup of the stuff into a pound of ground beef.

Since then, Ryder has been on a mission, the phone to his ear, pushing his product at local stores, sweet-talking investors, investigating a new lease and chasing down machinery to outfit a possible sauce factory. All while his wife, Marlene, toils in the kitchen cooking, mixing and bottling each case by hand from a modified measuring cup. Ryder has stores across the country eager to buy his sauce at 1,000 cases a pop, he says — if only he could meet the demand.

“I’m tired all the time,” Ryder says, but you’d never know it. The sauce, it seems, is what keeps him going. “I had a garlic burger and scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning,” he says. In fact, he puts Flynn’s on everything — with two possible exceptions. “You can’t put it on ice cream,” he says, “and you can’t take a bath in it.” Then again, the company is still young. And, as he well knows, accidents happen.

Flynn’s Gourmet Garlic Sauce can be found at the following locations:

Mill’s Market in Old Mechanicsville

Carytown Seafood in Carytown and Ashland

Nick’s Produce

Joe’s Market

Sycamore Wine and Cheese


Kroger Tri-Cities and in Richmond

Milepost 5 seafood in Midlothian

Pole Green Produce in Hanover

Visit Flynn’s at www.flynnsfoods.com.

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