“I want fry domination, ” she stated with a determined smile. I like it when people dream big and Caron, otherwise known as the Charlottetown Fry Queen, had a big dream. I met Caron while on a Taste the Town food walking tour in Charlottetown and even though every place we stopped was wonderful and yummy, Caron was the person who stood out to me. She had passion, drive, and an entrepreneurial spirit – but most importantly she had fun.
“Who wants a free hug?” Caron yells out to the crowd enthusiastically. She’s upbeat and beautiful, of course people are lining up for free hugs even though she may smell like a giant French fry and has fry ‘goo’ on her black t-shirt! Her personality dominates the shack. She yells out to people while eating – she makes all the fries in the shack in a somewhat manic state, and always has a smile on her face. The Fry Queen knows how to work a crowd. I was so taken by her passion and enthusiasm that I knew I had to learn more about her fry domination plan.
I Have a Dream….
I came back to the shack when she was finishing up for the day to get her whole fry history. She started the fry shack 4 years ago; however, she wasn’t always into fries. She grew up in Charlottetown but left at the age of 19, and didn’t think she’d ever come back. She traveled, had various careers around the world (yes I knew there was a reason I liked her beyond her fries), but eventually she had a desire to get back to her roots and spend time with her family. When she came back home, she had a dream – literally – a dream about her starting a chip shack. Ok – so Caron’s a little woo woo – but that’s what actually drew me to her. I like myself a little woo woo. She set out to make the dream a reality.
As we talked about her fry ‘story of origin’ she mentioned this phrase a number of times, “The universe takes care of you.” Prescribing to this mantra, she took the leap and she bought the shack and maxing out her credit. Even though her grandfather was a PEI potato farmer, she didn’t even know how to make fries or use a fryer. Determined to make her vision a reality, she locked herself inside her new fry shack for 4 hours with the fryers trying to make fries. Sadly, yet not surprisingly, she had no luck – her fries sucked.
Beer Solves Everything
Caron got over her discouragement and learned that one of her friends apprenticed with Bud the Spud in Halifax a while back. In exchange for a case of beer he offered to show her how to make great fry shack fries and be her fry Yoda.
“Do you want to try some?” she asked with a big grin.
“Absolutely!” I responded
The fries start with PEI potatoes of course, and then are beautifully double fried to perfect crispiness. She serves them up plain or with her homemade aioli’s (garlic, spicy garlic, and cagen). She even has a gluten free line as well. It was reminiscent of the best Frites in Brussels to me as a savored every golden fried bite.
Caron won’t call her fries the ‘best on PEI’, she says it’s not for her to decide – the people have to decide that. Now it’s time for you to do your homework, go check out Caron’s fry shack and see for yourself – are they the best? And if you are lucky, you’ll get those fries with a side of aioli and a hug.
Disclosure: My trip was hosted by PEI tourism, however all opinions expressed here are my own.