| Jun 25, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - June 25, 2009 “Newf’s”: the bright white beacon in the "chippy" seaby Julie Druker

Aubrey Francis aka “Newf" at his popular chip truck in Harrowsmith

For locals, cottagers and tourists on the road looking for a quick meal to satisfy their appetites, the bright white of Newf’s Grill & Chip Truck at 5009 Road 38 in Harrowsmith shines as a beacon.

Aubrey Francis, who originally hails from New Chelsea, in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland (hence the moniker), is no new hand at feeding large numbers of hungry people. He served in the Canadian Military for 20 years and did a number of tours while enlisted in the navy. His first placement was on a ship, the HMCS Fraser based in Halifax; he’s sailed the seas far and wide having done tours in Europe, Africa, South America and as far way as India.

It was in the military that Newf acquired his inter-provincial cook papers, or chef’s paper, but as a rather humble Newfoundlander he is adamant, “I don’t call myself a chef. I am a cook. To me a chef is someone who works underneath an executive chef in a hotel for seven years and creates a signature piece.”

Call him what you will, Newf’s experience is broad. “I’ve served chip truck meals but also full sit-down dinners for heads of state and ambassadors and other high-ranking officials.” He’s cooked full-course meals for up to 250 of his ship mates and admits that his training is mostly responsible for the success that he is having in his new business.

“You have to be organized and I am a very organized person.” Organized indeed! It’s a wonder that such a large menu can be offered from such a small space. All of the usual chip truck items are here: hotdogs, burgers, and fries and poutine. Add to the list a special Newfoundland poutine, prepared with turkey stuffing. The less common items also on offer are a clubhouse, a BLT, chicken fingers, char-broiled chicken breast burgers, veggie wraps and, of course, the very popular fish and chips (He is from Newfoundland after all). The fish is Atlantic cod and it is fried in Newf’s home-made beer batter.

Newf prides himself on the fact that his burgers are local from Garrett’s Meats and his chicken and turkey are cooked from fresh. For veggie lovers he offers a garden and Caesar salad and for combo meals fries can be substituted with salads at no extra charge.

This is only Newf’s second summer in business. He set up his truck in July last summer; ran a brisk business and is right back at it for the season.

He serves local customers from far and wide who often place their orders ahead of time. Newf admits that it is the atmosphere as well as his food that keep people coming back.

“I have regulars who come down and I look forward to seeing them ‘cause we have a laugh and a joke and there’s always some devilment going on. We have fun. They’ve all become friends and I enjoy that.”

Midday last Saturday proved to be too busy for an interview due to the constant line of customers. Robin and Randy, regulars from Verona, sat on a bench in the sun until their fish and chip orders came up. The Minifie family who were next in line praised the large portions and the overall freshness of the food.

Newf’s season runs from April 1 to Thanksgiving weekend. He’s open Mon-Wed, 11AM-6PM and Thurs-Sun, 11AM–7PM.

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