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Is Poutine the Next All-American Side?

Burgerville's Chili Cheeseburger

Pacific Northwest chain Burgerville’s latest seasonal specials are a ¼-lb. Chili Cheeseburger accompanied by Chili Cheese Waffle Fries that are just a nudge away from being that Canadian national favorite poutine.

Burgerville's Chili Cheese Waffle Fries

Technically, poutine is fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy, and Burgerville’s dish lacks the curds, although it has Tillamook white Cheddar cheese. It also has waffle-cut fries and 3-bean chili (with locally sourced beans). Burgerville is close to going the full Canadian route (and its marketing territory is geographically close to Canada), which raises the question of why no U.S. chain has imported this delicious combo to the States. Fries, cheese, gravy? What’s not to like?

Burger King in September added bacon-topped and “Angry” versions (with jalapeños, “Angry Onions” and “Angry Sauce”) of poutine to its menu in its Canadian units but hasn’t yet brought the dish across the border.

There’s one American burger chain uniquely positioned to break the blockade and put poutine on its menu: Culver’s. The Prairie du Sac, Wis.-based chain may be the only national burger brand with true cheese curds on its menu. Like Burgerville, Culver’s prides itself supporting local farms. Its curds are supplied by La Grander Hillside Dairy in Stanley, Wis.

● Speaking of imports, the Korean chain Kraze Burger has opened its first U.S. location in Bethesda, Md., according to NorthPotomac-DarnestownPatch. Additional units reportedly are planned for Washington, D.C.; Arlington, Va., and others. See also Robert Dyer‘s blog coverage of Kraze Burger.

10 comments to Is Poutine the Next All-American Side?

  • Someone needs to do a study about why spicy = angry.

  • ROger C.

    I tried to suggest poutine to several fast food franchises, but most disregarded what I had to say. It’s funny how somewhere like Michigan is right next to Canada, yet people don’t want poutine here.

  • Zachary Jacob Zblewski

    How are chili-cheese fries close to being poutine?

  • Brown gravy, cheese curds, fries. Chili, cheese, fries. Not so far apart. It might be a slight stretch, but so be it.

  • Francois

    McDonald’s has poutine in some Maine stores.

  • Curds are what make poutine poutine. There’s nothing more annoying than restaurants who either cheap out and use mozzarella or try to “upmarket” the dish with aged or imported cheeses. I’m fortunate, living in Eastern Ontario, to be able to get real poutine, made with fresh curds on, literally, every corner. But the further you get from the Quebec/Ontario curd belt, the more likely you are to get faux poutine.

    In conversations with Americans who have never had poutine, I find the most skeptical are those who have never had cheese curds. You’re right that Wisconsin would be the right place to start the trend down there. They really “get” fresh cheese.

  • Megan

    Being a New Brunswicker and having lived in quebec I need to point out poutine definitely needs the cheese curds. I have never been able to find a decent poutine in the states and I don’t think it really qualifies for being an all-american side considering it is Canadian.

  • J.B.

    Why is it so hard to get poutine in America?
    They can sell us that disgusting KFC sandwich but we can’t get fries with gravy and cheese curds?

  • Yes, Megan. “All-American” was facetious.

  • Helldog

    I wished we had poutine in Michigan, but now I have moved South and will never see it in my new corner of the US. I really wish that Taco Bell had Fries Supreme here, though. Loved those on my runs for the (Northern) border.

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