Chuck's Roadhouse, State & Main, Turtle Jack's, anything good? [Ontario]

These chains have been expanding across southwestern Ontario.

Are there any dishes you like?

How are their burgers?

1 Like

Nooooooooooo. Even Durham folks hate Chuck’s Roadhouse and State & Main.

1 Like

Hahaha, thanks, @googs.

What’s the saying again? “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Sorry. :frowning:

1 Like

Please. I only take aim at large targets. Never the mom and pops.


I typically don’t say anything bad online about mom + pop’s with bad food.

I occasionally will mention horrible service or bad attitudes online.

I will tell friends and family to avoid them.

I occasionally message Hungry Onions to warn them, too.

I haven’t been to any of these places - their menus all look pretty generic, except for the smattering of “Asian” dishes on State & Main’s that I tend to avoid at all costs in similar chain restaurants. (Looking at the nutritional info on their website confirmed my suspicion that the broths and sauces in a lot of these dishes are loaded with salt and/or sugar - nearly 4000 mgs of sodium and 28g of sugar in the “Royal Bangkok Noodle Bowl”, for example).

I noted that State & Main is owned by the big conglomerate Recipe Unlimited Corp, who also own Kelseys, Montanas, and the Landing Group (along with The Keg and The Burger’s Priest). Not sure about Chuck’s and Turtle Jack’s ownership - they appear to be much smaller operations.

1 Like

Chuck’s is a new brand under the same company as Crabby Joe’s, Union Burger and Coffee Culture, Obsidian Group.

Chuck’s is sprouting up all over SW Ontario, including Richmond Row in London (on the site of what was Bertholdi’s for 15ish years, the 5 and Diner for around 10, and Mother’s Pizza when I was a kid), the main drag in Grand Bend, Main St in Woodstock, etc. There are currently 71 Chuck’s locations.

I understand Chuck’s had a somewhat novel approach to pricing, allowing a steak dinner to be at a lower cost than it would cost at a mid- range chain like Kelsey’s or Montana’s, according to a friend who works in marketing. I haven’t tried it.

My friends were regulars at a Turtle Jacks in Brampton in the late 90s, mostly ordering the buffalo wings. Turtle Jacks calls itself a Muskoka Grill, even though headquarters are in Burlington. One location is in Parry Sound and another is in Port Carling. 2 in Burlington, 2 in Brampton, 2 in Mississauga, 1 in Etobicoke, 1 in Milton, 1 in Hamilton. :grinning:Most locations are in the Golden Horseshoe :grinning:. 19 locations as of today.

Another franchise that’s been opening quite a few locations in SW Ontario recently is Halibut House, which started in Port Perry. It is a franchise. There’s are new locations in St Thomas and in London. It looks like Halibut House has around 2 dozen locations in Ontario. I had thought it might have been started by Greeks. The website says one founder came from Cambodia.

London’s old fish and chip chain, Archie’s, is now down to 3 locations in London , and I don’t believe any outside London are still in business. The location in Stratford went out of business some time ago. I currently prefer the fish and chips at the Archie’s on Huron St to the fish and chips at the Archie’s on Wharncliffe Rd. I haven’t been to the Wellington South location.

People want to support small, independent shops/restaurants but at the same time one still has to pay similar prices as everywhere else and so I think it is also important to mention bad food also from those places - a disappointing restaurant is a disappointing restaurant independently who owns it

Wow. You’re the first person to give me a reason to dislike Port Perry.

And look! There’s one Mother’s Pizza for you (London) and one for me (Ajax.) From what I recall, they made me glad my neighbourhood had a Frank Vetere’s.

1 Like

And certainly, that’s your choice. Mine is to speak with the small business owner directly. A little constructive criticism is often just the thing. That’s why big companies loooove their surveys. Why harm when you can help?

1 Like

Negativity gets amplified so quickly online. I rather say nothing, unless it’s horrible. I focus on amplifying the positive experiences. Or sometimes, I’ll say don’t go out of your way to try this place for the food. I’ll let people know if the food is fair, which for me is 6/10 or 6.5/10.

My DMs here on HO are always open if people want to run a list of restaurants in Toronto or Ontario past me before a visit for places I haven’t been raving about.

1 Like

I don’t understand this mentality.

Franchised restaurants, which are the ones mentioned here in this thread (Chuck’s, State & Main, Turtle Jack’s) are all owned by franchisees, who are generally not your big-bad corporations, but individuals. In other words, your “mom and pop” owners.

In fact, I would say in many ways it’s actually more difficult to operate a franchise as a “mom and pop” than a stand-alone, non-affiliated restaurant as a “mom and pop”. Less corporate regulations (food quality and quantity, hours, appearance, staffing, design, layout, etc.).

If a place is serving sub-par food or service, they need to be called out.

Sheltering sub-par places simply because they are not affiliated with a franchised operation is simply doing a disservice to hoi polloi based on a distinction without a difference (“mom-and-pop” versus franchisee).


If I’m a customer, I’ll often let management know after my meal if there was a problem, in person or by email.

I rarely bring up the issue with the server unless I am asked. I have had several unpleasant experiences over the years where a server or owner becomes defensive or angry. I know I’ve mentioned those experiences on other threads.

I don’t think I write about too many negative experiences on HO, except in the situation where 2 or 3 emails have been ignored by the restaurant.

Starbucks shorted me $10 at the drive thru last Friday, and I’ll be stopping by when I get a chance to ask for my ten bucks, and ask them to remind their staff to keep the $20 on the till until the change has been given. If that Starbucks location doesn’t give me $10 or a $10 comp, I’ll email customer service, with a photo of my cup.

The difference is the most powerful tool in the belt, advertising. The individuals you speak of could never afford the level of exposure that comes part and parcel with their franchise. That is a very large distinction.

1 Like

That cuts both ways, though.

Franchise operators pay for the exposure (it’s part of the franchise fees).

Stand alone, non-affiliated operators have no such expense.

1 Like

Exactly. The little guys only have word-of-mouth.

1 Like

We had a Frank Vetere’s, too. Mother’s was downtown. I think I had my Grade 6 bday party at Mother’s and my Grade 8 bday party at Frank Vetere’s.

The Frank Vetere’s site is now either a Crabby Joe’s or an AYCE sushi. A Fuddrucker’s was also in one of those 2 spaces after Frank Vetere’s closed.

The old McGinnis Landing in west London is now a Chuck’s.

1 Like

And that’s why its easier to run a non-franchised restaurant than a franchised one.

The costs are lower, less regulations and rules, and just less total overhead.

The biggest misconception is that somehow franchised operations have a leg-up on non-franchised counterparts.

They do not.

I don’t think I would agree as in my experience owners and servers aren’t interested in such feedback, especially about quality of food and cooking and get very defensive. In addition, I go out to have a nice night and not to have often stressful discussions on how to improve things that’s really not the job of the customer. If you open anthing towards the public you shouldn’t be afraid to gave people who are disappointed about your experience in online discussion boards as you will also have positive voices if you deliver a good product. Many owners read these boards and honest comments here will be quite useful for them

1 Like