Smoke’s Poutinerie, a poutine restaurant in Ann Arbor, and The Beaver Trap, its connected bar, both ended service in November. No reason for closure was provided by the owner.
Within 18 months of opening, the first Michigan installation of the Smoke’s franchise closed.
Smoke’s has become a staple of fast food dining in Canada ever since its opening in Toronto in 2009. The poutine franchise now has more than 200 locations in Canada. After successfully growing its business across Canada in college towns and major cities alike, Smoke’s sought to expand the reach of its brand by opening franchises in the United States. Its first location in the U.S. opened in Berkeley, Calif. during winter 2014. The launch of its first Michigan restaurant in Ann Arbor followed in spring 2017, as Smoke’s hoped to expand into the Midwest.
The Beaver Trap bar was made an extension to the Ann Arbor Smoke’s franchise in hopes of attracting students.
Smoke’s and The Beaver Trap’s did not seem to widely capture the attention of college students that frequented Ann Arbor’s bar scene. Many times the bar was empty compared to others in town.
“What drew me to the restaurant was that it was never crowded, the drinks were cheap and well made and there was great service,” Information senior Emma Welch said.
“I think Beaver Trap failed to stay open because it is hard to compete with the well-established student bars on South U, like Brown Jug, Blue Leprechaun and Good Time Charley’s.”
Welch said many patrons did not seem to connect with the dining options from Smoke’s.
“The food was the one thing that was lacking,” Welch said. “They only had poutine which my friends and I did not enjoy. Other bars had good food and I think this is what caused Beaver Trap to never get as popular as it could have.”
Smoke’s Poutinerie staff declined requests for comment.