A Useful History of Poutine (+ a Sneak Peek Into Ours)
You’re endlessly scrolling through restaurants nearby. In trying to decide what to order for delivery, you’ve fallen into an abyss of indecision. Just when you think you’ve picked the perfect meal, the next mouth-watering option lights up your screen.
Here’s an option to stop the scroll: Poutine. It’s the food equivalent of Mr. Rogers. Wholesome, and honestly who doesn’t love it? But, quick question before you order– do you know how Canada’s national dish came to be?
Learn about how poutine spread from rural Quebec to the rest of the country. Then, chomp on those cheese curds like a true patriot.
The Origin Story
Like all superheroes, poutine has an interesting and debated origin story. All Canadians will agree that Poutine comes from Quebec, more specifically Centre-du-Quebec known for its fromageries. But, within the area, multiple towns and families claim to be the inventors of the dish. And, who can blame them? We kinda wanna claim it too.
The two most popular origin stories go like this:
In 1957, Eddy Lainesse, a regular customer of Cafe Ideal asked owner Ferdinand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries. Lachance served his fries in a paper bag so, naturally, his reply was “Ça va te faire une maudite poutine!”. In other words, “That’ll make a damn mess!” But, Lachance was a good sport and did it anyway.
By 1963, Lachance was regularly serving up the popular combo and had switched to plates to contain poutine’s poutine. The story goes that gravy was added to the dish when customers complained that the fries got cold too quickly on the plate. Gravy: a blanket for your fries.
Jean-Paul Roy says he invented poutine in 1964, at his drive-in restaurant Le Roy Jucep. It all started around 1958 when he began serving his fries with a special patate-sauce. Around that time, he noticed customers buying cheese curds at his snack counter and adding them to their fries. It seemed like a winning combo, so he added it to the menu as fromage-patate-sauce. Okay, so the name needed some work but the recipe is still a classic.
Poutine’s origin story isn’t as dark as Batman’s, but we think it’s safe to say it’s more consequential. You know, given that it’s real life and delicious and all.
Poutine Goes Mainstream
It didn’t take long for this squeaky secret to spread beyond the small towns of Quebec. In 1969, it arrived in Quebec City. Poutine fever spread across Canada and even into the US where it’s often called “Disco Fries” (hey, the dish does make you wanna dance).
As it became more popular, some interesting recipes showed up. Like:
- Italian poutine made with spaghetti sauce instead of gravy
- Irish poutine, made with lardons
- Montreal-style poutine, made with smoked meat
The dish reached new heights in 1987 when a Quebec-based Burger King franchisee convinced the chain to add it to their Canadian menu. McDonald’s and Harvey’s followed suit and by the 90s, poutine was on fast food menus all over the nation.
Today, ordering poutine for takeout or delivery is as easy as liking a photo on Insta (but way more satisfying). And, unlike Nickelback, the popularity of this Canadian original can only be described as a good thing.
Our Poutine Reigns Supreme
If you’re looking for the best poutine in Ottawa or Toronto, you’ve come to the right place. BFF’s classic concoction includes hand-cut fries, veggie gravy, and St. Albert’s cheese curds. But we also like creating flavors you won't find anywhere else through our bimonthly Duo.
Right now, we have the Onion Pakora Duo which includes a spicy twist on poutine– Pakora Fries. It has onion pakora, BBQ sauce, mint chutney, jalapeños, and cucumber raita. We aim to create the texture and comfort of traditional poutine, but with a flavor fusion that is truly Canadian.
Look out for our next creative duo in September.
BFF isn’t your typical burger n’ fries joint. Our food helps to remove barriers and unite people from different backgrounds over memorable and nostalgic flavors. With quality ingredients and creative combos, we aim to be your (tastebuds’) BFF.
Stop by one of our locations for the best poutine in Ottawa or Toronto. Order takeout or delivery directly through our website, and tag us in pics of your fave BFF foods @burgersnfriesforever.