The Red Fez and Poutine

Though several places claim to have created this strange dish, the one certainty is that Poutine originated in rural Quebec in the 1950s.

As a food lover, I had heard of poutine, but never found it on a menu, let alone ever tasted it. I knew fries and gravy were involved, though I couldn’t say I felt much intrigue towards such a dish.

After checking into our hotel in Rhode Island, we were famished after our day’s events.* Into Providence, quite possibly the only city I knew existed in Rhode Island, we went.

*Though the time spent on the road held nothing in comparison to the driving our trip still had in store.

We easily found a parking space and took a short walk down an eerily quiet street to The Red Fez. Unfortunately, the cluttered streets of New York City will always be what I compare any and every city experience to and, in turn, quiet streets will always make me question my surroundings.


The ‘Fez Poutine’ not only ruined every poutine I will ever order again*, but none of the food that followed it that night could compare. Being a food of Canadian making, I know that I still must try it whenever I find myself in Quebec, but I’m sure all poutine lovers will be happy to know that a hole in the wall in Providence is doing it deliciously.

*And in this trip, that would be two more times.

The Red Fez added layers of flavor and texture to the basic poutine that in Canada would be found in a greasy spoon diner or fast food joint*. Though it is also found in northern states, apparently New Jersey is just a little too south to have gained the influence of this dish.

*Um, when is our McDonald’s getting this stuff?


To start, the fries in the Fez Poutine were good fries. I know ‘good’ seems a terrible descriptor here, but let’s face it, there are good fries and then there are bad. We don’t need to get too articulate in regards to fries. These ‘good’ fries were topped with chouriço gravy and fried queso. Yes. Fried queso”*.

*Life is good.

I’d like to say it was the fried queso that really made the difference, because in truth none of the other poutines we tried had fried queso, but really it was the combination of those good fries, that meaty gravy, and the fried queso. The gravy itself I could have drank from a glass or poured over mashed potatoes and called it a meal.

The problem I’m facing, now that poutine has become a part of my life, is how I will get my hands on it again. And not just ‘it’, but ‘it’ of The Red Fez quality. This isn’t a dish I particularly want to make myself, but it is something I definitely, definitely want to eat again. And often.

With no traffic, The Red Fez is just over a four hour drive from my house. Think I can talk Hubby into going there again so soon?

The Red Fez
49 Peck Street
Providence, RI 02903


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