SHAWINIGAN - While most hockey players look to get their number retired to the rafters, Anthony Beauvillier has found a mouth-watering way to leave his mark in Shawinigan, Quebec.
Beauvillier has been immortalized via the Tito Burger, a pair of mini bacon cheeseburgers served exclusively at Mont Blanc, a bar, bistro and ice cream shop on 186 Rue Principale, Saint-Boniface-de-Shawinigan.
The mini burgers are topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese and caramelized onions and served with a cone of fries and mayonnaise on the side. The burgers are served on a Beauvillier-themed placemat featuring him in Shawinigan Cataractes and Islanders gear with his autograph. The placemat is clipped onto a coach's whiteboard, to complete the hockey motif.
Beauvillier's brand is strong here in a quite literal sense. As part of the Tito Burger, Beauvillier's jersey numbers have been branded into the buns, with 91 to represent his number in junior with Cataratces and 72 for the Islanders.
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Alain Gauthier, the owner of Mont Blanc, is the one who put Beauvillier on the menu. Gauthier's ice cream shop was one of Beauvillier's favorite spots during his three seasons in Shawinigan, which included a trip to the QMJHL finals as the Cataractes' captain.
Gauthier told Beauvillier he wanted to expand his operation to include a bistro and Beauvillier joked that the restaurant owner should name a burger after one of his more famous regular customers.
Beauvillier said it in jest, but Gauthier took it a little more seriously.
"He was saying he wanted to do this bistro and have burgers and things like that. I joked and said you should name a burger after me," Beauvillier said. "The next thing I know he opens up this place and puts a burger under my name."
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There was another reason to name the burger after Beauvillier; the meat for the burgers comes from Saint-Hyacinthe, where Beauvillier has lived since he was a kid and where his family still lives today. Like a perfectly sculpted burger patty, the story comes full circle.
Beauvillier drops by Mont Blanc when he comes back to Shawinigan with the New York Islanders digital team and orders up four Tito burgers (editor's note: they're delicious) and a side of poutine.
Beauvillier bites into the 72-branded burger first. And sure, nothing tastes better than winning, but a personalized burger is a pretty good get for a local legend. He looks up from his plate and grins.
"It's even better than it looks."