The Spudshack Fry Co
By Christine Rowlands

For the Love of Potatoes

Take a Kennebec potato, cut it into fries, fry them in canola oil, then cook them again until crisp and golden. Toss the fries with sea salt in a specially selected fry tosser and serve either dressed in gravy and squeaky cheese curds or with delectably flavoured mayo or ketchup, and you might just have a dish as delicious as what co-owner and chef Dan Close serves at Spud Shack Fry Co.

Spud Shack is literally steps from the New Westminster SkyTrain Station platform. Although it is an excellent place to pick up a cone of frites for takeout — “French fries” is a historical misnomer for the Belgian-invented dish, Dan explained — the cozy atmosphere and selection of craft beers might entice you to dine in.

I like to play around and try new things for the menu. - Dan Close, chef and co-owner
Spud Shack - poutine, fries, fish & chips

Award-Winning Poutine

After opening Spud Shack in 2012, it didn’t take long for word to spread that this casual restaurant had a menu worth travelling for. Dan’s “Porktine” creation topped with gravy, cheese curds and bacon and bacon-apple-rosemary fritters took the top spot in the 2013 Poutine Challenge issued by popular blog Vancouver Foodster, and Spud Shack was named one of the best new restaurants outside Vancouver in the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates 2014 awards. The Porktine was a limited-edition dish, though it lives on in the form of a specialty poutine with bacon, sour cream and chives, the second most popular item on the menu after the classic poutine.

A Red Seal chef, Dan’s bursts of inspiration have won him a foodie following, but they’re tempered with an everyday commitment to quality and service. “We serve amazing frites hand-cut and cooked to order – if the frites aren’t served within two or three minutes, they’re not served at all,” he said. “But we also take time to walk the floor and talk to customers. Good food and service, that’s what makes people come back, and bring their friends.”

Spud Shack - poutine, fries, fish & chips

Playing with Food

While frites are the star of the menu, Spud Shack caters to diverse food preferences. Vegan poutine is available, and the veggie burger is the second most popular sandwich. Have a sweet tooth? Look for the sign on the counter indicating the current dessert creation. Often changing with the season, desserts have included such temptations as mini doughnuts, apple tart, chocolate chalice and banana bread ice cream sandwiches—Dan is always dreaming up something new for those who save room. “I like to play around and try new things for the menu,” he said.

Perhaps you wouldn’t expect all of this from a casual little joint in a transit station where you can grab a late-night snack, but Spud Shack is full of surprises. Like the humble potato, its potential is revealed by the creativity of the cook.

Spud Shack - poutine, fries, fish & chips
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