Smoke’s Poutinerie on Water Street is part of nationwide chain. And as of this month, they’re the latest local restaurant partnering with a local cheesemaker, Five Brothers Cheese, for their fix of dairy’s finest offering.
Adam Blanchard says the local-national partnership “came about surprisingly easily” compared to some other partnerships Five Brothers is currently trying to forge.
“I got the owner’s phone number from the manager. We connected on a Monday morning, and by the Thursday of that same week, we had the agreement in place.”
Luckily for Blanchard, he says Ian Holol, who owns Smoke’s, “is a great young guy to work with. He’s responsive and … eager and excited to work with small local businesses.”
The Importance of Local Companies Coming Together
Blanchard’s business is booming because of his business acumen as much as his product: no one can serve something they haven’t heard of, or can’t get their hands on. An entrepreneur through and through, Blanchard is marketing his stuff as often as he’s making it.
Because of his efforts, Five Brothers Cheese has, very quickly, become one of the province’s most recognizable and accessible brands.
The success of Five Brothers Cheese also speaks to how supportive many local chefs are fresh local products. The following local restaurants, for example, serve Five Brothers products on their menus:
- Ches’s Fish & Chips
• Jungle Jim’s
• Bridie Molloy’s/Celtic Hearth
• Fifth Ticket
• Manna Bakery
• Wedgwood Cafe
• Merlo’s Inferno
• Bernard Stanley’s
• Adelaide Oyster House
• Bier Markt
• Rocket Bakery
But it hasn’t been easy. “I’ve found there are a lot of people and businesses in Newfoundland who ‘talk the talk’ about supporting local, but don’t ‘walk the walk’ when it comes down to it for whatever reason,” he says.
Blanchard is clear that “we want and need to work with ALL restaurants. I’d say about 75% of our business is with restaurants.”
Their remaining revenue, 25%, comes from retail sales. “People can pick up Five Brothers cheese at Rocket Bakery, Belbin’s Grocery, Bidgood’s, Manna Bakery, Tilt House Bakery, Dough B’ys, Food For Thought, and Quidi Vidi Brewery.”
As simple as the local-national Smoke’s Poutinerie deal was, Blanchard says “to say I was excited would be a bit of understatement. I kept saying that it went too smoothly, and was expecting somebody to be like ‘gotcha, just joking.'”
Personal Faves & Future Plans
“My favourite these days really are the curds,” Blancahrd says. “They are squeaky, creamy deliciousness with just the right amount of salt.”
His second favourite is the Avalon Smoked Cheddar. “Since the switch to our new source of milk, which now comes right from the farm, our cheese has really had a huge change for the better. The colour, smell, flavour, and texture are all different. It melts, it grates, and it slices.”
Their plans for 2017 will include more mozza, and some goat’s cheese. “We are needing this to be our biggest year yet; we are working on producing our mozzarella on a large scale. And we are also expecting to start receiving a supply of goat’s milk from Salmonier Line beginning at the end of summer to do some goat cheeses.”