If you’re taking the kids to a Cubs game, you’re already in Treatsville (and Wrigleyville), so you might as well hit The Big Cheese Poutinerie afterwards. There is not a medical expert in the world that would recommend an all-cheese diet, but an occasional treat can’t be all bad if it makes you happy. In any case, you’re just capping off a perfect day for the family to look back on fondly for years to come, so go experience the Quebecois delicacy that’s taking Chicago by storm.
When you see a bright, orange door with a “Go Cubs!” decal on its window, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Walk in and check out the almost-familiar black-and-white photos on the exposed brick wall. If you can’t quite put your finger on why they’re a little bit off, it’s because Big Cheese’s eponymous cartoon mascot — a native of Fun Land and the strongest man in the world — has “improved” several famous pictures by superimposing his mustachioed visage on the likes of Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty. This place is a little silly and decidedly not fancy, and once you get that first whiff of fries frying and savory gravy being stirred, you’re fine with the prospect of getting a little messy.
The kids clamor for the Mac and Cheese poutine, but you like the sound of The Greek — with gyros, tomatoes, and a sweet garlic sauce. You ultimately decide you’re not quite brave enough from the Hogzilla (which features root beer chipotle pulled pork), and your spouse concedes to ordering the Pierogie Poutine (with double-smoked bacon and actual pierogies) — provided you also get a small Taco Luchador, which is smothered in a loco amount of fixings, including ground beef, guacamole, and Fritos. That’s right, Fritos.
This first American branch of The Big Cheese Poutinerie claims to offer more varieties of poutine than they can fit on their website. Between the handwritten menu board and the printed menus available, various Chicago food writers have put the number at around 30, but you can make your own tally.
The little ones go crazy for their cheese-sauce-smothered starch-on-starch treat, and your better half can’t get enough of the spicy Taco Luchador, which you found surprisingly tasty, though the classic Poutine with cheese curds and gravy is your favorite. Fortunately for you and your brimming tummies, every order at Big Cheese comes in a to-go box. Why not stretch your family fun day into the next morning and heat up some poutine for breakfast? You wouldn’t be the first.