A Local Step On The Road To World Dominance

Smoke's Poutinerie, along with Smoke's Burritorie and and Weinerie, are the anchor food outlets in Campus Eats at St Clair College.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Smoke’s Poutinerie, along with Smoke’s Burritorie and and Weinerie, are the anchor food outlets in Campus Eats at St Clair College.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

(WINDSOR, ON) – Students at St Clair College look forward to their time at the school for more than the top rated education. St Clair students, faculty, and staff are treated to an assortment of delicious options when it comes to meal time.

You can expect to find the obligatory Tim Horton’s and Subway kiosks, but there’s another franchise on the scene serving up a selection of traditional favourites with a twist.

Opened for the fall semester last year, Smoke’s Poutinerie is presenting three choices for hungry students; the namesake poutine as well as Smoke’s Weinerie and Smoke’s Burritorie. Managed by Aramark, the three separate kiosks located in the main food court, Campus Eats, at St Clair provide a selection of customizable food choices featuring locally sourced ingredients.

More than just fries, gravy, and cheese curd, the classic Quebec staple can be augmented by a selection of toppings and combinations, including cheddar, pulled pork, bacon, chili, and mushrooms, to name just a few. There’s even a vegetarian version.

Michelle Bondy of Aramark says the poutinerie is the single best seller at the college and that the three kiosks together far outstrip the combined sales of the regular outlets.

One thing you can’t say about Smoke’s is that it’s ordinary.

An Aramark employee displays the ample burrito on offer from Smoke's Burritorie at St Clair College, on 11 September 2016.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

An Aramark employee displays the ample burrito on offer from Smoke’s Burritorie at St Clair College, on 11 September 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Led by CEO Ryan Smolkin, Smoke’s Poutinerie, and the Burritorie and Weinerie, have been taking North America by storm with the goal to dominate the world’s convenience food industry.

“I opened up Smoke’s Poutinerie 10 years ago now, in downtown TO, and now we’re 150 strong across North America and going for global domination,” Smolkin said. “And now we’ve done the brand extension with the Smoke’s Burritorie and the Smoke’s Weinerie. The Poutinerie is the bread and butter, baby. It’s the fries, cheese, and gravy of the business. That’s the gravy train we’re riding around the world.”

Smoke’s flagship operation is on Adelaide Street West in Toronto, between Duncan and Simcoe, but the franchise at Dundas Street East and Jarvis Street has been the most successful. Additionally, the firm has taken the collegiate world by storm.

Smoke’s is on the menu at universities and colleges in the United States including new franchises about to open at Michigan and Michigan State, and they have teamed with Aramark from St John’s, NL, to the University of Alberta in Edmonton. As well, the company is well entrenched in the sporting community with outlets serving fans of the NHL and OHL.

A St Clair College student is happy with his purchase of a Smoke's burrito from the outlet in Campus Eats, on 11 September 2016.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

A St Clair College student is happy with his purchase of a Smoke’s burrito from the outlet in Campus Eats, on 11 September 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

“We currently have three NHL arenas in Canada: the Ottawa Senators, the Maple Leafs, we actually do all of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ricoh Coliseum with the Marlies and BMO Field with Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts,” said Mark Cunningham, Smoke’s global development officer. “And then we do the Vancouver Canucks, too. So, we’re in Tampa Bay with the Lightning and we’re in Glendale with the AZ Coyotes.”

The Sarnia Sting home arena, the Progressive Auto Sales Arena, also features a Smoke’s restaurant.

“We also have a strong affiliation with Compass, who does the same kind of environments in colleges and universities,” said Cunningham. “We did a lot of their campuses from coast to coast. We did [Simon Fraser University] in Vancouver, straight through to Red Deer College and University of Regina. We did Fanshawe College in London with them. Humber College, George Brown, and then we’re in Carlton in Ottawa.”

There are not many places across Canada, down into California, and back to New Jersey, where you can’t find a Smoke’s.

“So coast to coast we’re practically getting into every one of the college and university campuses,” Cunningham said. “The same approach we hit into the US. To look at those non-traditional environments to obviously get the brand out to the students.”

Smoke's Hangover Poutine sampled by the author at St Clair College on 9 September 2016.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Smoke’s Hangover Poutine sampled by the author at St Clair College on 9 September 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Smolkin and Cunningham aren’t resting on their laurels, however. It is a long way to global domination and the pair are working hard to place Smoke’s in every market.

“Poutine has been around since the 1950s, so, 70-plus years,” said Smolkin. “They’re arguing in Montreal and Quebec over who invented poutine. I’m going to take it to the rest of the world, and I’m going to put our spin on it and create the Poutinerie. Load everything you can think on top of it, and create this whole new food category.”

Franchises are still available as the company works its way around the world. However, for residents in this area, you can visit the Poutinerie, Burritorie, and the Weinerie at St Clair College.

The main menu board for Smoke's Poutinerie at St Clair College. Prices accurate as of 11 September 2016.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The main menu board for Smoke’s Poutinerie at St Clair College. Prices accurate as of 11 September 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Another customer steps up to purchase the popular Smoke's poutine in Campus Eats at St Clair College in Windsor, on 9 September 2016.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Another customer steps up to purchase the popular Smoke’s poutine in Campus Eats at St Clair College in Windsor, on 9 September 2016.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Montreal's world faous steamies have found their way to Windsor and are available from the Smoke's Weinerie at St Clair College.Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Montreal’s world faous steamies have found their way to Windsor and are available from the Smoke’s Weinerie at St Clair College.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.
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