Canadian Poutine Restaurant Chain Plans Midwest Expansion


The Canadian restaurant chain Smoke’s Poutinerie, known for its wide variety of poutine options — a combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy — will expand into the Midwest, including restaurants planned for Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing.

Ryan Smolkin, founder and CEO of Smoke’s Poutinerie, says the first restaurant will open in Michigan in the second quarter of 2016, although the exact city has yet to be announced. He says the initial nine Midwest restaurants are planned to open near Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and Indiana.

“From the moment we first sampled Smoke’s Poutinerie in Toronto, we knew that the Midwest was going to fall in love with the brand’s originality, personality, and product,” says Craig Comer, franchise owner of the new Midwest Smoke’s Poutinerie restaurants, along with Hilaire Tolsma, Toine Murphy, and Joel Northam.

Smoke’s Poutinerie offers traditional, pork, chicken, beef, steak, and vegetarian poutine options, such as Country Style poutine with grilled chicken, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and peas; Chili Cheese Bacon poutine; bacon cheeseburger poutine with ground beef, bacon, and a cheese sauce; and a Steak Fajita poutine with flat iron steak, roasted red peppers, caramelized onion, salsa, and sour cream, among other offerings.

Smolkin says Smoke’s Poutinerie locations have a “Canadian glam rock vibe” with black and red plaid accents. He says the brand plans to have 1,300 restaurants worldwide, with 800 of those units in the United States, by 2020. The restaurant chain currently has 100 restaurants in Canada, along with locations in California and Las Vegas.