You may have already heard about Kamloops’ new Frenchies Poutinerie. The place has been buzzing since it opened on Oct. 26.
Depending on what time you choose to visit, you may be waiting in a lineup stretching out the door with eager customers dying to taste the classic Canadian dish. I sat down with owner Élie Toni Hanna to talk about his new business, and to taste what everyone else in town has been talking about.
Considering just how Canadian poutine is, it’s surprising Kamloops did not have a poutine restaurant in town. That is exactly exactly what Hanna thought when he first moved to Kamloops from Montreal back in 2009.
A TRU alumni himself, Hanna graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business. With a passion for cooking since he was young, Hanna sat on the idea for five years before finally saving up the money and opening up his own restaurant.
Frenchies Poutinerie has been busy ever since its kickoff. According to Hanna, the first four days after opening, the restaurant was sold out by 4 p.m. and he had to hire four new employees just to keep up with customer traffic.
The reasoning behind its popularity is likely due to the attention Hanna pays to his dish of choice. Everything is homemade and cooked in-house daily and leftovers are delivered to New Life Community downtown.
Hanna is quite the perfectionist. Care and detail are put into every single ingredient in each dish for customers to receive the highest quality product.
The pulled pork takes two days to cook, the french fries have a multi-step process to achieve perfection, and every ingredient other than the cheese is from local farms here in B.C.
The cheese is from Montreal, as Hanna says that nothing beats his hometown’s cheese quality. Such care and dedication takes a lot of time and energy, but Hanna says he doesn’t mind being at the restaurant from early morning to late at night, as it is his passion.
“Since it’s my own business, I have the drive to wake up in the morning and come here,” Hanna said. “It’s great being your own boss.”
His passion for creating delicious food really shows. I ordered the La Gatineau with ground beef, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bacon and jalapeños, all on a bed of fries and cheese swimming in a delicious homemade gravy. I can confidently say it was the best poutine I have ever had.
Frenchies Poutinerie is located downtown on 104-340 Victoria St. and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.