A brand new poutine restaurant called The Chez Francois Poutinerie has opened in Naperville, located at 22 E. Chicago Ave.
Owner Thi Tram Nguyen is more than confident the newly opened restaurant will be a hit in the neighborhood, with a goal to open a food truck and eventually a second location, hopefully by next year. Nguyen, who has a background in pharmaceutical sales, believes this restaurant will allow her to introduce the Canadian dish to Naperville and provide employment opportunities to people with special needs. The restaurant, which was named after Nguyen’s autistic son Francois, has moved into the former home of Naf Naf Grill.
In addition to helping those in need find employment opportunities, customers can round up to the next dollar, with the money going to Nguyen’s nonprofit organization, Friends of Francois, which helps adults with special needs attend recreational events. If Nguyen’s family ties weren’t enough to try this restaurant, her poutine is based on a family recipe she learned while in Montreal, where she was reunited with her parents following the Vietnam War.
For those who have never experienced eating poutine, expect french fries topped with cheese curds and drenched in hot gravy; a must-have whenever in Canadian territories. As for the inside, the Chez Francois Poutinterie will feature a decor of Canadiana and Vietnamese influence. When customers walk in, it will feel like a casual restaurant serving a counter-style menu similar to Chipotle.
“This is something that became a dream of ours,” Nguyen told The Daily Herald. “And the way everyone around us has helped so far, I really think we’ll be successful. This is what I love to do. I’ll be here seven days a week to make sure we’re successful.”