My father has always had a “rule” at the dinner table for his Girls Five: “Try it once, twice if you like it”. It is a simple philosophy that has helped me appreciate and savour the many flavours of life.

During my teen years (in the 80s), I spent a couple of summers in a small town just outside of Montreal – L’Épiphanie – where I tasted and fell in love with a dish of fries, cheese curds topped with brown gravy – poutine!

When I came back to Regina and told my teachers and high-school friends about this delicious dish, the only reaction I got was curled up noses and lots of people saying “Phooey!”

Food is more than a human instinctive need. Humankind has a deep connection with food.

And while some smaller countries have a nationally common cuisine, other countries are so vast and diverse in their culinary cultures, that picking just one dish seems difficult.

A national dish is any country’s culinary, and to a large extent, cultural identity. However, there are some countries which do not have an official national dish, in such countries, certain dishes have gained so much importance, they are considered the de facto – although unofficial – national food.

Poutine, with uncertain origins, emerged in the late 1950s in the centre-du-Québec and was not perceived positively. It was considered junk food; its name implies “mess”. The dish was mocked for a long time as people believed it stigmatized Québec, its society and their culture.

Today, poutine, in its rise in prominence, has led to popularity throughout our country and has become a real culinary creation –  which also helps retain Canada’s unique French culture and influence.

Only in Canada? Nope. You can now find poutine in many corners of the globe including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, and even France.

Smoke’s Poutinerie has two locations in Saskatchewan: one in Regina and one in Saskatoon, and according to their website, they are the “worlds” largest and original poutinerie”.

When I asked Jhay, the manager of Smoke’s at 1943 Scarth Street, who “Smoke” is, he replied, “He is the man, the myth, the legend!”

Jhay says the top selling poutine plates here in the Queen City are the Avalanche, Korean BBQ and the Bacon Cheeseburger.

There is even something for the sweet tooth – Carnevil Highwire = fries topped with a few traditional toppings plus popcorn and cotton candy!

The experience at Smoke’s is very different than when I was 16. I recall a small plate of fries on the bottom, gravy and cheese – three ingredients.

And while you can still get the delicious traditional or “original” plate of poutine at Smoke’s, their modern variations are more than just fries with gravy and chewy, gooey cheese.

The plate has changed. Poutine is now a very generous portion of layered and tossed hot fresh ingredients with delicious tastes and textures: hot fries, creamy gravy, squeaky fresh cheese curds (crottes de fromage) but at Smoke’s you can now add your choice of toppings including everything from buffalo chicken, butter chicken, pulled pork, pierogi, to bacon cheeseburger. There is also a variety of veggie poutines to try.

The whole Smoke’s experience is a real 80s feel – a mini museum that jolts you back into the past.



Smoke’s Poutinerie:

Call: (306) 545-1234

Hours: Sunday to Friday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and Saturday 11:00 am to Midnight

Dine in: Park your bike or vehicle at 1943 Scarth Street. Eat inside – great music and décor, or enjoy their mini-outdoor patio (sits four comfortably).

Take out: Enjoy at home or have a picnic in Victoria Park.

Delivery: Call and order with SKIP the Dishes, DoorDash or UBEReats.



An invite from Jhay & Staff at SMOKE’s poutinerie to everyone in the Queen City:

The Rock N’ Roll Gravy Train will be arriving in Regina on Monday July 18th from 5:00-8:00pm for SMOKE’s Poutinerie’s World Famous Great Canadian Cross Country Plaid Gravy Train Fries Curd & Gravy Weird Wild Wacky Poutine Eating Tour 2022!

On that day, we will be giving away free snack-size poutine (fries and cheese curds in gravy). We will also be giving away some Coca-Cola products. There will also be a spin-a-wheel to win special prizes!

Join us and share your food fun & stories!


Smoke’s takes us back to the 80s with its music, its décor and its menu! Pop in. Give it a try! At least once…  Twice, if you like it!



TikTok: @reginadowntownbid

Instagram: @reginadowntownbid

Facebook: @ReginaDowntownBID

Twitter: @ReginaDowntown

Share This