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Mike Cohen stops by new Carrefour Laval food court sensation New York Fries

    There are many reasons why like to shop at Carrefour Laval. The food court, for one, ranks as one of the best in Quebec as far as I am concerned.

    I recently dropped by for a bite en route to a meeting and I came across the newest addition to the food court: New York Fries.  It is a simple kiosk featuring hot dogs, French fries and poutine, but judging from the lineup it appears to have caught the fancy of passersby.

    The kiosk opened in the fall of 2019, the first in Quebec since Recipe Unlimited bought the franchise, which has 165 locations worldwide. Recipe Unlimited was previously known as Cara Restaurants. It owns, among others Rotisserie St. Hubert, Harvey’s, the Keg and Taverne 1909 signé St-Hubert.  New York Fries will be overseen in Quebec by St. Hubert and Vincent White.

    White was nice enough to meet me for the tasting. I do not often review food court concessions, but this story has a nice vibe to it. New York Fries was originally established in 1984 by Brantford, Ontario businessman Jay Gould. Recipe Unlimited purchased the business in September 2015. Now there had been a previous presence of the brand here in Quebec at places like Fairview Pointe-Claire and the Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre but all of those operations were shut down. Recipe Unlimited made the wise choice to hand the job of rebuilding the brand in Quebec to the St-Hubert team. This way, White says, that the locations in our province will be distinctly different.

    For starters, they are using the term  “frites artisanales,” which is a fancy way to describe fresh-cut fries. They use russet potatoes which are freshly cut by staff and put through a triple frying process. In addition, this location has its own Québecois sauce for the poutine. As well, unlike its other New York Fries counterparts, the hot dog buns are toasted or steamed upon request. “We are a province of true hot dog eaters,” White notes. “It shows because our location is already the number one worldwide in hot dog sales. Business is great here. The brand was already well known.”

    This New York Fries also won first prize in Laval for the 2020 La Poutine Week competition, quite a proud accomplishment.

    So what did I have to eat? I happily sampled the hot dog deluxe with cheese and bacon and the double cheese and bacon poutine (with green onions), topping it all off with a cherry coke. The Carrefour Laval food court uses real plates, bowls, glasses and cutlery – no plastic.

    There are other choices such as a hot dog/poutine, half a dozen different poutines and of course the fries.

    It is very likely that White will start getting calls from potential franchisees soon looking to capitalize on this name brand’s attractiveness.

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    Mike Cohen

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