Let me share something with you right from the get go. I have been a lifelong fan of Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert since I was old enough to know what barbeque chicken tasted like.

Founded on September 25, 1951  with one store at 6355, rue Saint-Hubert, the chain now has nearly 120 locations in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, and serves more than 31 million meals each year.  I was born in 1962. At that time it was known simply as St-Hubert Barbeque. In my household, we’d all shout with joy when dad would come home with a takeout order or announce one evening that we’d head out for dinner. When I was in Quebec City for business last spring, I knew there was a St-Hubert around the corner from my hotel. There was no second choice for me.

I was quite saddened a number of years ago when the St-Hubert location nearest to my house, on Sherbrooke Street West in NDG, was closed and transformed into a Pharmaprix. Fortunately the franchise on Côte de Neiges Road near Lacombe is not too far and it continues to thrive. It is the one I frequent the most.

There is the one near the Bell Centre and another not too far from Saputo Stadium, which are “go to” places prior to a sporting event and another at Complex Desjardins, ideal before a show at the Place des Arts. I am a big fan of the St-Hubert Express concept. When in Verdun, St. Laurent, St. Leonard and the Prince Arthur area, I’ll swing by there. This concept caters to those folks who’d prefer to be in and out without any table service. You line up at the counter and make your order. The menu is obviously more limited.


The crispy ribs.

“We have 41 St-Hubert Express locations right now,” Richard Scofield, the president of the St. Hubert Restaurant Division, told me in an interview. “This has been a very good concept for us.”

While St-Hubert in its early days had a pretty straight forward menu of chicken and fries, it has come a long way. There is a table hôte, featuring an appetizer, main course and dessert for $18, $23 or $26. The menu itself has a growing list of choices- generous appetizers, sides, selections from the grill, gourmet sandwiches, health-related items, classics like their poutine, cocktails, sangrias, mojitos and a wine list. Oh yes, they are still very big on home delivery in their trademark yellow vehicles.

St-Hubert has updated its kids menu and introduced a new approach to side dishes. Kids can choose among the following options: rice, vegetable julienne, mashed potatoes, baked potato, fries, garden salad or St-Hubert Caesar salad. In addition to removing chicken wings and poutine from the kids’ menu, they have reduced the sodium content in their most popular option, “The Zoo” animal-shaped chicken croquettes, by 40 percent. Unsweetened fruit compote is also available as a dessert option for kids.

Because St-Hubert is always mindful to improve the service quality for its customers, it shows the nutritional values and list of ingredients of each item on its menu. This information can be found on its website and helps customers make informed choices. Since 2004, they do not use nuts or peanuts in their dishes.

I was recently invited to join St-Hubert`s  Foundation and Public Relations Director Josée Vaillancourt  to sample some of the restaurant`s new menu items. Even though I consider myself a semi-regular, I was unaware that at least twice a year a number of new selections are added. We met at the Côte des Neiges location, where manager Marie-Pier Rousseau  has a  well-oiled machine. This spot is always packed. Experience server André led us through the new choices and we agreed to try them out together: chicken wings dipped in new flavor sauce; crispy ribs; stuffed potato skins (Potato skins stuffed with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, bacon bites, onion flakes and Montreal Steak spices topped with sauce); Sriracha quarter chicken; and grilled chicken breast with apples and Oka cheese gratin; and the brand new and tantalizing rotisserie potatoes.  The Discovery Platter came with some delicious waffle fries and onion rings. We also sliced a piece of their trademark sugar pie in half to conclude a most appetizing lunch.


Grilled chicken breast with apples and Oka cheese gratin.

“Am I really at St-Hubert?” I asked Josée rhetorically.

Scoffield was happy to hear about my experience. “St-Hubert has certainly evolved over the last 65 years,” he said. “We are still best known for our chicken, but I’d say our biggest challenge might be to get clients to open up the menu and see for themselves what a variety of items we offer.”

A few weeks earlier I was at the same Côte des Neiges Road locale to enjoy my favorite chicken and ribs combo, with a Caesar salad on the side and a delicious piece of chocolate mousse cake.

For almost 15 years now, St-Hubert has served only air-chilled (rather than water-chilled) chicken, which enables them to offer plumper, juicier and tastier poultry.

St-Hubert restaurants also have large wine lists. But lately, partnerships have been forged on a local basis between restaurants and  neighbouring SAQ franchises. And get this – St-Hubert might actually introduce a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) concept!

There is something else new about to be announced by the St-Hubert family. They will be opening up a restaurant at the casino in Charlevoix in December. What a great idea! I assume the Montreal and Gatineau casinos won’t be far behind.

St-Hubert has a catering division which people can use for events and parties. You can buy their frozen products at your local grocery store and hat’s off to them for the work of their Foundation, which has raised $2.5 million for local charities in only four years.

For more details and to view their full menu, log on to www.st-hubert.com.

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