A Canadian restaurant chain that specialises in a local delicacy of fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds has dropped from its menu a variety named after Russia’s president over the war in Ukraine, it said Thursday.
Frites Alors! used to call its signature dish “The Vladimir,” playing up the sameness of the French translation of President Vladimir Putin’s last name to the nosh, called poutine.
But following customer complaints, they quickly moved to change it to “The Volodymyr” in honour of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the restaurant chain’s Yannick de Groote told AFP.
“We’re also denigrating Putin a bit by changing the name to that of Ukraine’s president,” he added.
The owners of Frites Alors!, which has more than a dozen outlets in Quebec province and a few in France, are apolitical and jokesters, he said.
Most of Frites Alors!’s other dishes poke fun at famous people or hint at their ingredients such as The Kimchi, The Picashew or L’eau a la Bush – a mashup of mouthwatering in French and George W. Bush.
The Vladimir had been added to its menu when Putin was re-elected president in 2012.
“When people realised that Putin was dropping bombs (on Ukraine), at that point we decided to make the menu change,” de Groote said.
In France, another restaurant called La Maison de la Poutine said in a statement that it had received “calls of insults and even threats” from people who’d incorrectly associated its main dish with the Russian president.
“La Maison de la Poutine is not linked to the Russian regime and its leader,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Roy Jucep restaurant in Drummondville, Quebec that claims to have created poutine back in 1956, in a rebuke to Russia has re-branded itself on social media as “the inventor of the fries-cheese-gravy.”