The lines are about to get really long for Poutine Brothers. Serving crispy, starchy, hand-cut fries or tots topped with cheese, gravy and crave-worthy toppings like fried chicken skins, perfectly fried eggs and super smoky pork. Get it now before the line is reminiscent of Howlin’ Ray’s.
From desk jobs to a poutinerie on wheels – that is the short story of the Poutine Brothers founders. Brothers Chris and Matt Urakami grew up playing hockey and always had a love for the Canadian national dish which is evident in their take on it. Just six months in, the Poutine Brothers are keeping with the Canadian tradition by offering the plate in its traditional form with fries, cheese curds, and gravy but you should not stop there they offer up-to eight versions of the dish, and you can get creative and make your own, the options seem limitless.
While the bros rock the classic poutine, they also kick it up a notch with unique options. In addition to hand-cut fries, tater tots or waffle fries are exceptional alternatives. Then when it comes to toppings, that’s where it starts to get wild. Chicken tikka masala, fried eggs, chicken skins, and bacon are just some of the options. Plus they satisfy your vegan urges with their vegan mozzarella, hearty vegan gravy, and plenty of veggie fixin’s.
The craziest build-your-own poutine the brothers have crafted so far is poutine with all three types of their potatoes: hand-cut fries, waffle fries, and tater tots. If the truck’s not busy, Chris and Matt are willing to make pretty much any combination of their ingredients that you could want. So far the brothers haven’t said no to any requests. The fried chicken skin is the truck’s most unusual topping, which may be unique to the poutine purist, but is a game changer for the poutine adventure seeker.
The Poutine Brothers’ bestsellers are the short rib poutine and the smoked pork poutine. Smoked pork is more authentic to the poutine you’d find in Montreal with a focus on smoked meats, but people love short ribs and in particular, enjoy trying to figure out Chris’s recipe for them. The pork at Poutine Brothers has a deep and authentic smoky flavor, and you can taste the love that goes into its preparation. The pork is seared and braised in a marinade that includes soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, worchestire, garlic, chicken broth and then smoked with hickory chips.
The Poutine Brothers truck hit the streets of Los Angeles in the summer of 2018, but you would never know that this is their first food venture. In fact, neither Urakami brother has even worked in a restaurant, they simply have a lifelong love of food and home cooking. The brothers are half Japanese and half Italian, but the culinary inspiration comes from their Italian side. Chris recalls falling in love with food while spending his childhood in the kitchen with his grandma showing him the ropes. Now the passion for delicious food has come to fruition via the truck.
So being American, with Japanese heritage and Italian heritage, why poutine – the national dish of Canada? From a young age, the brothers played hockey and traveled with their teams all over the US and Canada frequently. Chris had his first poutine at age seven and fell in love at first bite. The brothers loved it so much that they thought they could make a profitable living out of it when they decided to ditch the corporate world. Of course, with both Chris and Matt having business backgrounds they did their due diligence. They did a year of research and development, practicing at home and hosting tastings with friends and family.
Boomtown Brewery is a favorite spot for the Poutine Brothers to post up at. Boomtown has a friendly crew and staff with great customers. There’s nothing like a few beers to work up an appetite for cheese curds, smoky pork, & gravy over waffle fries. The guys know that breweries & poutine belong together, so keep an eye out for them at your local craft taproom.
Chris’s advice for new food trucks is to be humble, hardworking and determined. The brothers’ biggest lesson to pass along is that you need to adapt to the learning curve and not fight it. Customer service is also a top priority for the Poutine Brothers, and they see it is as a big part of their success, and they love to educate people about poutine. Before you get to the front of the line, you’ll likely hear one of the brothers breaking down their dishes for any poutine newbs. They’re always happy to offer suggestions on combinations & love interacting with their customers.
Though the Poutine Brothers are newcomers to the industry, they know food in LA. When Chris and Matt aren’t working in the truck, they are eating at Leo’s Tacos, Raging Hot Chicken, and The Sari Sari Store at Grand Central Market. The brothers’ number one go-to is El Flamin’ Taco, where, according to Chris, they serve the best Real al Pastor tacos in town. As to desserts, they like Mashti Malone’s, which is famous for its Persian ice cream.
Chris and Matt’s original plan was to open a brick and mortar Poutine Brothers after a year on the truck, but they’re second-guessing the idea now. They have had such success with the mobile version that the business is expanding on wheels and will soon launch a second Poutine Brothers truck. The new truck will be spreading the poutine love in Orange County.