Mr. Hot Potato
Address: 17 Bullman St, Ottawa (behind the Beer Store next to Holland’s Cross)
Hours: 11am – 5pm (Mon – Fri); 12pm – 5pm (Sat); closed Sunday
Green Factor: Styrofoam containers, plastic utensils; recycling and garbage bins on site
It’s funny how places can be “off the beaten path” when they’re only a couple blocks from the heart of one of the most popular consumer districts in Ottawa. This is certainly the case with chip shack Mr. Hot Potato, which is just a couple minutes’ walk from Hintonburg and Wellington Village, tucked away on a side street that runs behind Holland Cross.
When I visited, I wasn’t 100% sure they were still open (shockingly, chip shacks/wagons generally aren’t great at social media or PR in general). They must be doing something right though, since they’ve outlived multiple, fancier food trucks on the more visible side of Holland Cross (RIP Dora-Don).
I arrived at lunchtime on a grey weekday, with rain just starting to fall. There were a few other people while I was there, politely making space for each other in these pandemic times.
Mr. Hot Potato’s menu is standard chip shack fare – fries and poutine, burgers, and tube meat. There’s also chicken burgers and fingers for you healthy types! Naturally, I went for my usual culinary barometer for chips shacks/wagons – a cheeseburger with a small poutine.
After a short wait under my umbrella, I made my way to the empty Parkdale Farmers’ Market for shelter while I ate.
I had my cheeseburger ($6) topped with the works, sans ketchup; note that their “works” includes pickled banana peppers. The patty was from-frozen, not of the highest quality, and would have benefitted from a better sear on the flat top. The burger did check some boxes of Burger Fundamentals though, with melted cheese, a lightly toasted bun, and a good meat-bun ratio.
My small poutine ($6) must have had those very small cheese curds that are common at chip shacks, because they were all melted by the time I walked a few minutes away and cracked into my lunch. The fries likely came out of a bag as well, but frozen potatoes don’t suffer nearly as much as meat, and their crispy edges were a highlight of the meal. The gravy was in the middle of the Poutine Gravy Colour Spectrum, and wasn’t too heavy handed with the salt.
Mr. Hot Potato may not have been the hidden gem I was hoping for, but they’ve got your chip shack fix at a price that’s easy on the wallet.