Now, the chef and owner of the Dartmouth-based Cheese Curds and Habaneros food chains is bringing his unique spin of comfort-meets-healthy dining to Truro.
Set up in the Truro Power Centre of Millbrook First Nation, the dual-concept Cheese Curds/Habaneros restaurant will provide a selection of fresh gourmet burgers, poutine and various Mexican cuisines.
“Cheese Curds and Habaneros sort of complement each other, because you can get a nice, greasy burger and also a fresh healthy salad,” said Pratt.
Pratt recently took his first venture out of the HRM with a store opening in Oromocto, N.B., and has begun to spread across Nova Scotia with the announcement of the Truro location.
“Truro is the hub of Nova Scotia, so why wouldn’t I want to go there?” he said.
“Truro is famously known as the most central area of Nova Scotia, so it was really a no brainer. The location is a perfect fit for our business, as it is right beside the highway.”
Cheese Curds is known for its gourmet burger and poutine selection, which includes items like the meat-filled Legendary CC Porker burger and the Halifamous Donair Poutine.
Habaneros, on the other hand, provides a modern twist on a Mexican taco bar and healthy alternatives including fresh-made salads.
The store is scheduled to open in October, and will have all the same options as its Dartmouth-based counterparts.
“It is very important for us to standardize our recipes so it is the same across the board,” said Pratt.
“We are pretty popular because of what we’ve done and all the extra work we’ve put into it. I think people recognize the fact that we’re cooking fresh food instead of using processed stuff, which I think is a big draw. We cook all our meats in-house when it’s ordered.”
Pratt started his restaurants after spending 27 years in the Navy as a chef, where he focused on making fresh, easily made comfort food for his crewmates.
After leaving the Navy, he set out to bring his cooking to everyone, creating a whole group of restaurants and food trucks that would work off his idea to make good, fresh, affordable food.
Once the Millbrook location is finished being built and set up, it will open with Cheese Curds first, and the Habaneros side will open three to four weeks later.
“No sense trying to put out two fires at the same time, right?” said Pratt.
“Were going to be training new staff, and we want to get them in a group and make sure they are comfortable, so we will open one side first. Then, once we open the second one, we will have a grand opening celebration.”
Aside from the Millbrook location, Pratt is also opening a new store in Bedford, and made an announcement in Sydney on Tuesday about a new development as well.
Other locations being looked at for the chains to expand to are Moncton, Saint John, Charlottetown and other areas around Nova Scotia.
“My goal is to open throughout the Maritimes,” he said of the possibility of spreading farther west.
“Why would we shoot our guns in Ontario when we were born in Nova Scotia? I developed both of these concepts in Nova Scotia, so I want to do the Maritimes first and make sure my franchisees are profitable before I try to go way over into those other parts.
“Right now, there is no rush. We will get there.”