By: Jason Freeze
When you think of Lonnie’s on Market, what do you think about? Fast food, burgers, poutine? While those are certainly associated with the local restaurant, to the owners, Lonnie’s means three other things as well: family, community, and helping out others.
Going into their 12th year, Lonnie’s on Market has been a staple of Downtown Brantford’s core. The business was started up by Brian Xurieb when an opportunity came up that would fulfill his dream of starting up a restaurant. Initially, he only wanted to start up a small hotdog stand, but that plan grew into what is now Lonnie’s.
Brian also needed a name for the place. With deep roots within his family, he decided to name the store after his father, Lawrence, who went by Lonnie. If the name Lawrence sounds familiar to you, there’s a good reason for that. Brian’s son is also named Lawrence and has been working with his mom and dad at the store since he was 13 years old.
Starting out in the food business early, Lawrence certainly feels at home at the store. Over the years, he’s helped out all over the place. He’s gone from cleaning to cash and now he’s usually back in the kitchen cooking up a storm of great food. But as all small business owners, he does whatever needs to be done. During a short break I got to sit down with Lawrence and chat about their family’s restaurant and the food they serve.
Known for their specialty poutines, Lonnie’s now has about 40 different kinds listed on their menu. Strangely enough, when they started out, they didn’t have any though. But after the first few years they started off with their first 15 and created their iconic “poutine hood.” “Poutine is popular. It’s a Canadian food and is generally loved by lots of people,” said Lawrence. “Lots of folks like putting whatever on poutine and will combine them to create their own.”
This is basically how their long poutine menu got started. As people kept commenting and asking for different things, they decided to go with it and built their list from there. Among the more ‘low-key’ flavours like Meatball Poutine, Sausage Poutine, and Taco Poutine are some of the more interesting flavours like Breakfast Poutine, Cherry Cheesecake Poutine, and Chocolate Bacon Poutine. They even have a Festive Poutine which includes turkey, stuffing and a side of cranberries.
Besides all the intriguing possibilities of poutine, Lonnie’s on Market also serves up some great meals to fill you up. From their burgers and subs, to tacos and breakfast, they’ll be happy to make something for whatever you’re craving. They also have a tantalizing array of goodies to fill that sweet tooth as well.
As some more orders came in, I followed Lawrence past the big pile of 50lb potato bags into the kitchen. So I asked how many of those they went through. Lawrence said that they go through about 50-80 of these huge bags in a week. All of which is shipped in from a local farmer. “We try to buy local as much as possible,” he said.
With so much food coming out of the kitchen I had to ask what his favourite thing is on their menu. “I like spicy myself, so either the Pulled Pork or Buffalo Chicken Poutine. In 12 years I’ve not stopped eating pulled pork.” Then I asked what is his favourite thing to cook? “I think the Breakfast. It’s good to make a full finished product that looks nice and that people are going to enjoy. It fills people up. And its fun watching their face go, ‘wow!’”
Lonnie’s has a great tradition of helping out in the community too. They keep things local, work together in the business community, connect with students and locals, and share what they can with local organizations as well. They also have a unique way of helping out the community and keeping the area clean. Earlier this year they were picked by Laurier to host ‘The Butt Box.’ Each week, people get to vote on some fun questions by placing their cigarette butts into one of two sides of the box. It a great way to interact with people and keeps the community clean. The butts are even recycled after each vote.
If you haven’t already, make sure to head on down to Lonnie’s at 42 Market Street. They’ve got a great selection of fresh, quick food that’s sure to fill you up. They’re open late (9am – 3am Sunday to Wednesday, and 9am to 4am Thursday to Saturday) or you can get their Take Out and Delivery if you can’t make it yourself. www.lonniesonmarket.com