Finding a way to say thank you with lots of gravy and high stacks of Canadian cheese curds, Smoke’s Poutinerie in Sudbury offered free poutine on Wednesday.
It’s all part of a cross-Canada tour that saw the Smoke’s Poutinerie Gravy Train roll up to the downtown location.
“We’re taking the product to the people,” said founder and chief entertainment officer Ryan Smolkin.
“To say thank you for all the support. It’s been some tough times, so why not say thank you and give poutines out to the masses?”
Starting at 11 am, the Smoke’s team was handing out free dishes, games and swag as part of the tour.
“Everybody’s been through some tough times and why not say thanks, right?” said Smolkin.
“Why not put it out there? A lot of closures of different industries, a lot of closures of different restaurants, and we’re still here, we’re still thriving.”
Planning to hit 38 cities in 36 days, he said 15,000 poutine orders have been given away since the tour started. Locally, more than 300 were given out in a matter of hours.
“Just how many fans came… it’s crazy. We weren’t expecting that much support,” said Sudbury franchise owner Gibs Bastien, who has owned the Elm Street location for almost six years.
“We have over about 30 poutines. You could build your own. We have some weird, wacky, wild combinations.”
Bastien said it felt good to give back to a community that has continued to support him over the years.
“I’ve tried to be involved since Day 1,” he said.
“We have the potatoes for the people. Every time around Christmas at the end of the year, (we give) a couple hundred pounds of potatoes to the food bank and it’s just nice to be able to actually give the poutine to the people. ”
Although popular on a regular day, the promise of free poutine in Sudbury was so enticing that the event actually had to wrap up two hours early due to high demand.
Those involved said it was a telltale sign that Sudburians love their french fries.