Knotty Pine Bistro crowned PA Poutine Week Gravy Bowl champion

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Natasha Thomson presented Knotty Pine Bistro owner Barb Lychak with the Gravy Bowl trophy and the Poutine Choice Award on Thursday.

The Knotty Pine Bistro at Little Red is a double champion following final voting for the Prince Albert Poutine Week organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters Prince Albert.

The Knotty Pine’s Dill Pickle Poutine won both the Gravy Bowl championship trophy for selling the most poutines from March 11to 20 and also received the Poutine Choice Award for social media votes.

PA Poutine Week saw seven restaurants create unique poutines with four dollars from each poutine sold going to Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Prince Albert. The Knotty Pine sold 300 poutines during that week.

BBBS Prince Albert development coordinator Natasha Thomson said they were excited poutine week went so well.

“We sold over 1,000 poutines in our city, which is amazing,” Thomson said. “We were so happy that the people of Prince Albert came out to support this event.”

The organization plans to use the funds to keep improving their programming.

“Four dollars from each poutine sold is coming to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is wonderful,” Thomson said. “We are using that money to continue to support the matches we have in our community and to recruit, screen and train more volunteers with children on the waiting list.”

BBBS currently has 20 children on their waiting list. They also received a few more applications this month. Thomson said that there are always more children than volunteers.

Knotty Pine owner Barb Lychak said that the community did a great job supporting Poutine Week.

“This fundraiser, being the first one, was a great success but it depended on the community supports,” she said. “Our success is everyone’s success.

The winning entry was described as The Knotty Pine’s crispy coated fries, in-house made pickle chips, shredded mozzarella cheese and their signature creamy dill sauce. Lychak said taking home both trophies was a great surprise.

“That is great, not only (the fundraising) but that the public enjoyed what we were doing enough to vote for us,” Lychak said. “Everyone likes dill, from what I was told. I just thought (about it) with friends, suggested different aspects of it, and we kind of all put it together.

“We had a few taste testers and they said it was really good.”

The recipe kind of came together and was a huge success. She said that the dill pickles were all hand breaded, which was a lot of work.

“I used my regular dill sauce plus I had to make a homemade seasoning our in-house seasoning and then Cavendish fries, you can’t go wrong with those,” she explained.

The feedback she received was also very positive about the dish.

“Several people said that they would have it again, I had people even still asking for it and they wanted to put it on our menu,” Lychak said. “We are still deciding whether we are going to do that or just have it as a feature every once in a while.

“I’m pretty sure that we ran out of pickles in PA,” she added.

The Knotty Pine will have the two keepsake trophies for the year, which Lychak said will go on the mantle. As well, they received Gravy Bowl champion shirts donated by Sign Universe. All the restaurants will also be receiving a thank you plaque from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Other restaurants that participated included the Spice Trail, Shananigan’s Bistro Coffee and Dessert Bar, Rock & Iron Clubhouse, Original Joe’s, Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse Casual and Boston Pizza.

“It was a group effort. Nobody could have done it on their own,” Lychak said.

Thomson said that they are already planning for next year.

“We are very excited about next year already. This event was modeled on our Saskatoon office XYE Poutine Week which they have done for the past five years and each year in participants and restaurants.”

The community came out to support the first one, and Thomson expects that to continue in the future.

“We really want to thank everyone who came out and tried some poutine in support of this event, thank all of our restaurant partners and all of our community partners as well who helped promote and make this event successful,” she added.