The Origin of Poutine: Where Does Poutine Come From?

Everybody loves poutine. It’s the delicious mix of French fries, cheese curds and gravy that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. But did you know that poutine used to be called “mixte”? It’s true, and it’s just one of the mouth-watering facts you’ll learn as we take a trip through the history of Canada’s favorite snack.

The first thing you need to know is that there’s quite a bit of debate over the origins of poutine. Some believe that the tasty dish originated in 1957 at a restaurant named Le Lutin qui rit (“The Laughing Elf”) in the small dairy-farming town of Warwick, Quebeck. As the tale goes, a customer requested cheese curds on the French fries, to which the owner remarked, “Ça va faire une maudite poutine,” or, “That’s going to make a dreadful mess.” Poutine, the Québécois slang for mess, ended up sticking.

The problem with this origin story is that there’s a missing ingredient — the gravy. This is where the history starts to get murky. In 1964, after a restaurant-owner at Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville, Quebec, noticed a few diners ordering a side of cheese curds to go with the popular gravy and fries dish, he decided to combine everything into a single menu item. Putting the three ingredients together proved to be a winning combination, and the dish quickly spread throughout Canada and into the United States.

The widespread success of poutine has made way for a number of variations on the traditional mix. For example, many restaurants in Newfoundland will substitute dressing/stuffing in the place of cheese curds. And depending on where you go, poutine can get surprisingly expensive. Canadian eateries have found ways of adding lobster and foie gras to the dish. Toronto’s Disgraceland will even add all of the toppings to the mix, but it’s going to run you close to a hundred dollars.

On the other side of the menu, poutine can also be incredibly economical. Fast food chains across Canada, like McDonalds, have concocted their own versions in recent years to go along with the burgers and shakes.

Although we may disagree about who created it or how much it should cost, there’s no argument that poutine is one of Canada’s greatest inventions. And that’s not hyperbole, because it was ranked the tenth best invention by CBC in 2007. The irresistible mix of French fries, cheese curds and gravy managed to top standard time, the Bloody Caesar and even the BlackBerry, but was beat out by the telephone and insulin.

Whether you want it traditional, covered in lobster or substituted with dressing, poutine is the delicious snack that nobody can resist.  

The Five Best Poutine Restaurants in Las Vegas

Once though to be Canada’s most delicious secret, poutine is making a big impact on Las Vegas. It’s the tasty treat that combines French fries and cheese curds, all covered in gravy. From Fries N’ Pies to Naked City Pizza, some of Las Vegas’ favorite eateries are leading the charge with their own unique takes on poutine. To help celebrate this emerging trend, we’re going to sort through all of the mouth-watering toppings and name the five best poutine restaurants in Las Vegas.

Fries N’ Pies

The flagship destination for anybody looking for poutine in Las Vegas, Fries N’ Pies offers an irresistible selection of toppings and choices that help to reinvent the Canadian classic. Choose between regular French fries, optionally done in duck fat fries and even roasted cauliflower, all smothered in a wide variety of gravies and toppings. Some of the more exciting mixes include the Hawaiian, which combines pulled pork, habanero cream cheese, pineapple, bacon and mozzarella; the New Yorker, featuring salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, marinara and ricotta; and the Californian, which includes ranch cream cheese, mozzarella grilled chicken, bacon, tomato and avocado. Fries N’ Pies also offers convenient pre-orders for carry out.

595 Craft & Kitchen

A gastropub with a rotating selection of craft beers, 595 Craft & Kitchen is a friendly haunt with two types of poutine. On one hand, there’s the Traditional Poutine, an enticing mix that smothers brown gravy, white cheddar and scallions all over the hand-cut house fries. But for anybody looking to kick it up a notch, the Loco Moco Poutine adds furikake, a fried egg and your choice of hamburger patty or spam to the mix. Wash it all down with some of the finest craft beers in Las Vegas, only at 595 Craft & Kitchen.

Born And Raised

Open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, Born And Raise is a family-owned eatery where hospitality is paramount. By mixing a little of old Vegas with the new, this award-winning home away from home delivers a unique spin on all of your favorite dishes. This includes the Skirt Steak Poutine, their own take on the Canadian classic. It’s a mix of French fries, melted mozzarella, red wine, brown gravy and tender steak. It’s a favorite at Born And Raised and will set you back a cool $9.

Robert Irvine’s Public House

Headed by a celebrity chef and located inside the Tropicana, Robert Irvine’s Public House is a must-taste destination for foodies in Las Vegas. The 9,000-square-foot restaurant specializes in a wide variety of comfort food options, each inspired by Chef Irvine’s culinary travels. Although they don’t have a large poutine selection, Robert Irvine’s Public House offers a unique mix that includes tater tots, pulled pork, Guinness shiitake gravy and goat cheese. This mouth-watering dish will run you $16.

Naked City Pizza

A family-owned and operated staple with five locations spread across Las Vegas, Naked City Pizza is the popular stop when you want a slice. For those looking for a little more, the pizzeria also offers a number of French fry options, including poutine. Their take on the classic snack mixes fresh mozzarella cheese and in-house beef gravy with the hand-cut, house-made fries. It’s an irresistible treat that pairs perfectly with a slice of Naked City Pizza’s specialty pies.