In an industry where everyone is moving towards
pre-processed products, we are doing the opposite.

We butcher, marinate, and slow-cook our meats. We pickle our own veggies. We make our own sour creams and salsas. We are a Nova Scotia family owned business that has opened and now operates 8 quick-service restaurants and 3 food trucks in just over 4 years. We pride ourselves on providing not just great quality, fresh, home-made food, at a great value, but also an exceptional service experience that will make our guests want to come back time and time again. 

This isn’t “fast food,” and our restaurant decor and service reflect that.


Our restaurants offer a wide variety of chef-inspired™ food choices, but they’re all built on the same foundation. Our dishes offer:

  • Original twists on traditional recipes

  • Fresh (not processed) ingredients, sourced locally wherever practical

  • House-made products, from fresh burgers and fries to homemade pickles; sausages made from scratch; fresh pastas, sauces, and a range of condiments you won't find anywhere else

  • Affordable choices for delicious, quality food you can customize the way you like it, at reasonable prices


Because we want every Chef Inspired™ experience to be memorable, we apply our “with a twist” approach beyond the menu, to our décor, and even to the staff we choose to serve you.


“Gourmet” is about so much more than flavour.

It’s about making the right choices. Our burgers and poutine are unlike anything you’ve tasted before because we stand by a number of simple principles. We make as much of our food from scratch as we can; whenever possible we support other local businesses; and we make every effort to minimize our impact on the environment. As a Nova Scotia family-run business, we're more than incredible chef-inspired fare. We're a completely unique gourmet experience no matter what choice you make from our menu.

What makes Habaneros™ truly unique is the variety and quality of all of our menu items.


The build-your-own options are endless and you can garnish your taco, burrito, or salad with an incredible number of choices of toppings including the freshest local vegetables, house made sour creams and salsas, and house made pickled veggies. And while everyone claims to be using fresh food, we are washing, spinning, and shredding the lettuce we buy from our local vegetable stand – every day. And you can taste the difference.


Habaneros was also the restaurant behind Halifax’s now-famous Gecko Bus, Chef Pratt’s first food truck, which has served thousands of hungry diners all over Halifax and was recently one of The Food Network Canada’s “12 Canadian Food Trucks Worth Checking Out.” For a sampling of its activity, search #GeckoBus on Twitter. 

Also affectionately known as Elizabus, she has her own App which enables fans to locate her whereabouts instantly!

You've never seen a restaurant like this!

Specialty food trucks are booming across North America. We love them because they offer a great variety of delicious foods, because they're specialized in what they cook… and because it’s fun!

In most of Canada though, food trucks are only available part of the year because our climate just doesn't make outdoor eating that pleasant during late fall and winter. Truck-Side Food Truck Food Court has taken the weather out of the equation in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, by bringing the complete food truck experience indoors.

TRUCK-SIDE is a quick-service restaurant offering five food truck-style menu options, Italian, Asian, Mexican, seafood, and gourmet burgers in an indoor location designed to look like an outdoor parking lot.


TRUCK-SIDE offers the specialized menus of food trucks and the fun of eating community-style in a parking lot – but doesn’t include wind, rain, or mosquitoes.


Italian food is all about love.

At lil Eatily, diners choose between a dozen pastas, in serious helpings. Options include Maple Ginger Curry Chicken Penne, Chipotle Puttanesca Spaghetti, and Chorizo Sausage Rigatoni Arrabbiatta. All of the sauces and many of the key ingredients, including the chorizo, the gnocchi, and the pulled pork are made in-house. Customers also have the option to create their own dish by choosing their own combi- nation of pasta, protein and sauce. lil Eatily also has a Caesar bar with every salad prepared fresh to order, using house-made creamy garlic and lemon dressing and fresh focaccia bread, this latter baked in-house every morning.

"All you pay for is what U-Pick"

U-Pick-Fish offers an “any time, every day”  fish & chips special: a massive piece of house-battered and deep-fried fish with a heap of fresh hand-cut fries along with homemade coleslaw and tartar sauce. And while there are plenty of places in the Halifax area serving  fish & chips, U-Pick-Fish is the only place a diner can choose between Atlantic haddock, Atlantic salmon, shrimp, and scallops – and then select their favourite coating and cooking method. From the house specialty Mega Crunch to pan-fried, baked, beer-battered or tempura-battered, and finally choose from among several different sides and sauces.

Gweilo (pron. “gwhy-LO”) Asian Noodle Bar offers custom-made noodle bowls and rice bowls with unique flavour combinations and a half-dozen protein options. For the more adventurous palate, Gweilo’s menu includes Asian BBQ Pork Belly & Kimchi Fried Rice, Vietnamese Lemongrass Pho Soup, and Dragon Fire Szechuan Noodles.

Our menu is inspired by Asian  flavours and cooking methods, but features fresh, local ingredients combined in new and surprising ways. In traditional Asian cooking, you’ll find fresh ginger; at Gweilo Asian Noodle Bar, may also find ginger beer. Take a break from tradition and try Asian food Gweilo-style. You may never go back.

The people of Nova Scotia are known far and wide for warmth and personality – and our Chef Inspired™ restaurants have quickly earned a similar reputation.

This blog celebrates the characters in our Chef Inspired™
community who’ll help you understand why!

You asked, we listened...

We make nearly everything in house, and very often we hear, "wow, you should bottle this so I can take it home!" So, that's exactly what we did. Starting with 4 of our popular products, and adding more soon.


When we say "we provide a unique work environment like no other", we're not kidding.

Since day one, we've consistently provided a positive, friendly, and healthy atmosphere to work. Chef Bill Pratt and his managers strive to ensure we maintain our well earned reputation of, "one of the best places to work in the restaurant industry." The majority of our now senior team started here at entry level when we opened our first Cheese Curds, 4 years ago. What else do we do different?

  • pay above minimum wage

  • all employees share from the tip pool

  • encourage growth and promote from within

  • have low staff turnover, exceptionally high retention

  • believe passion is more important than knowledge. 

We don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Join us, and find out for yourself. Please submit your cover letter and résumé to: 

Current openings:

Cheese Curds® and Habaneros™ are QSR restaurants with a strict focus on fresh, chef-inspired food. What makes us unique is the incredible variety and quality of our menu items. We prepare everything to order in an open kitchen concept right in front of the customer. Our orders take a little longer to fill as a result but we stand behind our mantra that "it's worth the wait."

We don't sell franchises, we award franchises. Find out more here!


100% Privately-owned Canadian company