CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I.—“Fries With the Works” has been known by Islanders for more than forty years for its hearty, comfort food appeal. The unique P.E.I. potato dish includes four key ingredients: P.E.I. French fries topped with gravy, Island ground beef and canned peas. Many have enjoyed it at their local restaurants, hockey rinks or take-outs, and now both Islanders and visitors can take their taste buds on the road by accessing an on-line map that show the locations of more than fifty different restaurants proudly serving this home-grown dish.
The origin of Fries With the Works can be traced back to 1975, to Pat’s Take-Out in Unionvale, P.E.I. As legend has it, a worker from a nearby potato warehouse stopped into Pat’s for a bite to eat before starting his night shift. Upon placing his order for French fries with gravy, owner Pat Pineau added some extra ingredients to his order in an effort to help the young worker stay full throughout his shift. The response was positive, and word of the dish spread quickly. By the 1980s, Fries With the Works and variations of Pat’s classic were being served Island-wide. Today, nearly every dairy bar and local take-out across P.E.I. carries a version of the ‘Classic’ Fries With the Works.
In addition to the ‘Classic’ Fries With the Works, new creative variations have emerged. Restaurants have customized their own versions of Fries With the Works by adding veggies, shredded cheese or poutine curds. Some even add more protein, including chicken, pulled pork, or bacon. Whether in its classic form, or with a creative twist, no P.E.I. summer would be complete without Fries With the Works.