The Big Cheese brings poutine to Chicago

2014-04-16 002 040

Poutine. Fries, cheese curds, and gravy. (Peter V. Bella)

Poutine is a Canadian treat gaining in popularity. Poutine is french fries with cheese curds and gravy.

A journalist friend, who has relatives in Canada, told me the cheese curds are a recent innovation. He said poutine was late night food consumed after a night of drinking. Sort of like sliders, Maxwell Street Polish or burritos. It was just fries covered in gravy.

As poutine gained in popularity creativity blossomed. There are many sauces to go with the poutine as well as different types of cheese curds and other toppings. Poutine went from after drinking food to chic cuisine.

Poutine arrived in Chicago in March. Big Cheese Poutinerie, a Canadian franchise, opened its first store in the United States at 3400 N. Clark. They offer 30 varieties of what was once a rural dish. They also have a monthly special poutine.

Some of the selections are creatively named, Pigasus, Cluster Buck, The Greek, and Notorious P.I.G. to name a few. Big Cheese even has a dessert poutine, fries topped with cinnamon sugar, cream cheese, and caramel sauce.

Big Cheese is in a triangular shaped building. Space is at a minimum. Diners sit at counters that run along the windows. There are a few tables in the back. The decor is kitschy, with many Mr. Potato Head variations.

The mark of good poutine is the freshness of the cheese curds. They should squeak when you eat them. These curds squeaked. The traditional, fries, cheese curds, and Big Cheese’s “secret gravy” tastes great. Note, Big Cheese poutine is a salt lovers delight.

Big Cheese only serves soft drinks.

From the traffic in and out of Big Cheese it appears poutine is catching on.

NOTE: I would like to thank DNA-IRL for inviting me to their event at Big Cheese.


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