When you walk into Poutine Hut, it feels like you walked into a franchise, and that’s what the owners intended. Steve and Peter Economou, father and son restaurateurs, started Poutine Hut with the goal of opening more locations. Their original location opened on Murphy Road on February 1, 2016. “We created the concept from scratch and hope to have more locations in the next couple of years. We are going to sell franchises,” says Peter, the Executive Chef. All of the branding for the location was thought out with franchising in mind.
Steve has owned and operated several restaurants in the past. He opened his original restaurant, Gateway Steakhouse, in 1974 in Point Edward. He sold that property to the Village of Point Edward in 1992. He owned the Chipican Restaurant from 1984 until 2004. When he sold the Chipican, he started the Open Grill Steakhouse, which is still operating today. “My parents retired in March of 2015 after 40 years in the business,” Peter explains. Working alongside his parents, Peter has been involved in the restaurant industry since he was nine years old. “I washed dishes and bussed tables at first and then moved into the kitchen,” Peter says. Later he worked at the Holiday Inn under Chef Phil Washington. “When we decided to open the Open Grill, I jumped at the chance to run the kitchen.”
The unique thing about Poutine Hut is that you are in full control of your food; you can build everything the way you like it. “We wanted to open a poutinerie where you build it yourself. We have the salad table with fresh toppings and you tell us what you want,” says Peter. You can build a poutine for as little as $5 or you can add premium toppings. Their Signature Poutine includes: Montreal Cheese Curds, choice of gravy, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, sweet peas, and buttermilk ranch sauce. “I’ve had customers from Montreal tell me that this is the best poutine they’ve ever had in Ontario. That’s a great compliment,” Peter says with a smile.
Everything is made fresh to order, including their crispy chicken sandwiches, handmade burgers, foot-long hot dogs and Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. “Our menu offers the best comfort food in the whole city,” says Peter. The pulled pork sandwiches are one of the store’s best sellers. “The great thing is that if you don’t want a sandwich, you can add it to your poutine.” They serve bridge fries, made with local potatoes from Grand Bend, and their gravies are made fresh every day. “We recently developed a catering menu ideal for poutine bars at weddings, family outings or office meetings.” They have introduced a few new items to the menu in recent months: fish & chips, gyros and souvlaki. Overtime meals are available for local industrial workers. The full menu can be viewed at www.poutinehut.com. The restaurant sees a lot of regular customers. “It makes my day when I see their faces and they tell me how fantastic the food is.”
In May of 2017, the first edition of Year of Local was released. They are available for purchase at The Book Keeper. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the local Sarnia-Lambton charities featured in the book.