Nestled in Logan Square, Q-Tine offers something out of the ordinary—even for foodie Chicagoans. Billed as “Memphis Meets Montreal,” this one-year-old concept meshes the Canadian favorite poutine—fries and cheese curds—with Tennessee-style barbecue.

Montreal native and former hockey player–turned–restaurateur Harvey Gladman teamed up with Greg Morton—a chef and veteran barbecue expert—and longtime restaurant executive Ron DiNella to create the hybrid fast casual. The menu features Q-wiches—sandwiches with smoked-in-house meats and a side of poutine—and creative iterations of poutine, like Gladman’s favorite, the Coach Q. Named for Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, the Montreal-inspired dish features classic poutine topped with smoked corned beef.

Gladman reflects on Q-Tine’s first year in business and its late-night niche.

What was the inspiration behind a concept that combines barbecue and poutine?

Growing up in Montreal, poutine was a favorite comfort food of mine. I wanted to bring this fun, uniquely Canadian cuisine to America. My business partner, who is American, is a lover of great barbecue, and the more we played around with the idea, the more we realized that the flavors and textures of poutine and barbecue pair very well together. With Q-Tine, we created a concept that is truly different.

How have customers reacted to these flavor mash-ups?

Our guests have really embraced the menu and are excited about trying the flavor combinations we’ve created. The most popular item on the menu right now is the 3 Little Pigs, which is our classic poutine (hand-cut Kennebec fries, Cedar Grove White Cheddar cheese curds, and house-made gravy) topped with crispy bacon, pulled pork, and smoked pork belly. Our customers love pretty much anything we put pork on top of!

Your hours of operation (5 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends) are unusual for limited service. Why specialize in late-night dayparts?

The area of Chicago where Q-Tine is located (Logan Square) has a vibrant nightlife and after-hours scene. Our hours of operation really reflect our understanding of the neighborhood and what our target demographic wants. In addition to dinnertime, we have a lot of guests who come in for a late-night nosh after attending a concert or drinking at a bar with friends. We do a high percentage of our business after midnight.

What’s up next for Q-Tine?

Based on the patterns of business we’ve seen over the past year, we’re confident that our barbecue-poutine hybrid concept would fit well into any urban neighborhood that has a lot of nightlife activity. Locations in hockey arenas across the country are another possibility. We also have our eye on entering college towns, and are even considering a food truck.

Consumer Trends, Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, Story, Q-tine