Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville is one of the two places in Quebec that claims to have invented poutine. Although people had been combining cheese curds and fries as early as 1957, Jucep’s founder Jean-Paul Roy says he was the first to add gravy to the mix and call it poutine in 1964.
When asked where the name came from, Roy says many grandmothers used the English word “pudding” to refer to any kind of mix. In Québec French, this came to be pronounced “poutine.” Since Roy’s cook was nicknamed Ti-Pout, the staff used to joke around that “Ti-Pout is making poutine,” which eventually led them to enshrine the name in their menu. These claims are still hotly debated within the region, but it hasn’t stopped Jucep from parking www.linventeurdelapoutine.com as a domain name, not to mention plastering the claim all over their restaurant. Read more about Roy’s claim here.
Jean-Paul Roy passed away in 2007, several decades after selling his restaurant. The restaurant itself is a bit of an eyesore, the interior looking like an unconvincing chintzy take on a 1950s diner. It feels like it was remodeled to look like a Denny’s.
But let’s not let that distract us. We’re here for the main attraction: the so-called original poutine.
The real deal is bigger than what is shown in this picture, but I had mine as a side dish.
Unfortunately, it came as a bit of a letdown after all the hype. Montreal Poutine rightfully claims that Jucep’s inferior poutine shows we are dealing with “a dish which has clearly moved well beyond its roots.”
Fries: Decent crispy fries, properly cooked, could be a bit slimmer. 25/30.
Gravy: The secret “Le Roy Jucep” gravy tastes vaguely oriental. Hey wait! This is Chinese sweet-and-sour sauce! It might taste good with deep-fried chicken, but it doesn’t work all that well with poutine. 28/50.
Cheese: With all the excellent cheese curd factories in the region, it’s no surprise that the cheese is good. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough on my small poutine nor on my friend’s regular sized poutine. 16/20.
TOTAL SCORE: 69/100
Verdict: It may be the first, but it ain’t the best.
Value: Average – $6.55 for a proper size poutine. Cheaper as the side dish pictured above.
Location: 1050 boul. St-Joseph, Drummondville, QC, 1.2 hours northwest of Montreal