Thee Chip Shoppe
Address: 665 Booth St (across from the NRCan office tower)
Hours: 11am – 2pm (M-F, unofficial, may change during/after pandemic)
Green factor: Styrofoam containers for burgers and poutine, plastic utensils; no garbage or recycling disposal on site
Competing against a nameless chip wagon, Thee Chip Shoppe is the southernmost of the two stalwart chip wagons which typically set up shop(pe) on Booth Street, serving the civil servant masses in the surrounding area.
The colourful truck, somewhat reminiscent of the Mystery Machine, offers de rigueur chip wagon fare – fries and poutine, burgers, hotdogs and sausages. I was slightly intrigued by the “donair” on the menu, but I now know better than to bother trying chip wagon donairs and to avoid the inevitable disappointment that follows.
On my first visit, I had already had a bite to eat before coming to Thee Chip Shoppe, so I stuck with a small fries ($4) to get a taste of their most basic offering. It was nice to see them cooked to order, and I soon had my bag of carbs in hand.
The sizing was typical compared to their peers, with a small paper cup in a brown paper bag. Combined, they make for a serving size which is only considered small in North America, and is a good way to spend a fiver.
The fries were hand-cut, with respectable crispness and a fluffy interior, although the oil they were cooked in might have been slightly past time for changing. A victim of my mid-afternoon arrival, I suppose.
Visit number two came later in the year, and with temperatures in the single digits, I got my food to go. This time around I went for my usual metric for a chip wagon – a cheeseburger ($4.50) with a small poutine ($5.50), as well as a medium poutine ($6.50) for my wife.
Time rarely does hot foods any favours, so it’s with that in mind that I had my meal. Unsurprisingly, the cheese curds were melted into a salty, hot mess with the gravy. The squeak test may not have been possible, but the cheese pulls were great! The gravy was fine, without any depth of flavour, but at least it wasn’t overloaded with salt or obviously made from a powder. The fries were soggy that this point, so we can ignore that category.
The burger came on a toasted sesame seed bun, with a thoroughly melted slice of cheese. The patty itself was one of those from-frozen ones that are shaped to have irregular edges and look more real, so generally unimpressive. It was a decent size, in the quarter pound range, so if you know what you’re getting into, go for it. The works toppings included lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard.
I’m not sure why they have the old(e) timey spelling, but Thee Chip Shoppe is a middle of the road chip wagon. They’ve got low prices and friendly owners, and they’re good in a pinch when you need some fuel or some decent fries.