About Us

 

Learn about our roots and what made us who we are today.

 

original u need a pita logo
u need a pita st. paul street, circa 2009
image of an original u need a pita menu

A Brief history of time

Where It All Began

Born and raised on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines.  It all started one sunny June 22nd in the year 2008.  Two friends were hungry and often disappointed by the fast-food options in the region.  So they thought, let’s do it better.

Fueled by nothing more than sheer will and determination, a new restaurant business was born.  The doors opened that fateful day in June, and lo and behold, no customers visited!  Okay, wait, actually, one guy came in, but just to look around.  He didn’t buy anything.

Talk about a buzz kill.  But we kept showing up every day, and soon enough the word got out.  In July 2008, our first SCENE music festival in downtown St. Catharines was MAYHEM.  Luckily, nobody died, and we learned a lot.

Fast forward a year, and we continued to grind it out in downtown St. Catharines, but there just wasn’t enough customers to survive.  Rather than throw in the towel, we thought, let’s spend another couple hundred grand we don’t have and open another location!  If it doesn’t work the first time, it has to work the second time, right??

Surprise!  It did!  In October 2009, the Glendale location open to much fanfare.  It was busy from the first day and mysteriously, the St. Paul location became busier after Glendale opened.  We figured it out!  Well, we thought we did at least.  Turns out there’s a lot to learn running a multi-location restaurant business.

We kept making mistakes and learning along the way.  In 2012, we introduced a new brand called “Chop House” into the St. Paul and Glendale locations.  Chop House was our take on the better-burger explosion in that time period.  After many months of research and development, we launched the very first Chop House menu.

A Brief history of time

Where It All Began

Born and raised on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines.  It all started one sunny June 22nd in the year 2008.  Two friends were hungry and often disappointed by the fast-food options in the region.  So they thought, let’s do it better.

Fueled by nothing more than sheer will and determination, a new restaurant business was born.  The doors opened that fateful day in June, and lo and behold, no customers visited!  Okay, wait, actually, one guy came in, but just to look around.  He didn’t buy anything.

Talk about a buzz kill.  But we kept showing up every day, and soon enough the word got out.  In July 2008, our first SCENE music festival in downtown St. Catharines was MAYHEM.  Luckily, nobody died, and we learned a lot.

Fast forward a year, and we continued to grind it out in downtown St. Catharines, but there just wasn’t enough customers to survive.  Rather than throw in the towel, we thought, let’s spend another couple hundred grand we don’t have and open another location!  If it doesn’t work the first time, it has to work the second time, right??

Surprise!  It did!  In October 2009, the Glendale location open to much fanfare.  It was busy from the first day and mysteriously, the St. Paul location became busier after Glendale opened.  We figured it out!  Well, we thought we did at least.  Turns out there’s a lot to learn running a multi-location restaurant business.

We kept making mistakes and learning along the way.  In 2012, we introduced a new brand called “Chop House” into the St. Paul and Glendale locations.  Chop House was our take on the better-burger explosion in that time period.  After many months of research and development, we launched the very first Chop House menu.

original u need a pita logo
image of u need a pita st. paul, circa 2009
image of an original u need a pita menu

Back in the day, we cooked those burgers on a charcoal broiler!  But that left a lot of room for error.  Forget to flip a burg on an 800 F charbroiler grill and it quickly develops an intense charred flavour that overpowers everything else.  If you like that, all the power to ya, but we didn’t!

It would be years before we’d fix that problem.  In 2013, the Welland location opened and it was a smashing success!  We love you Wellanders!  Thank you for all your support and loyalty over the years.

Then, in 2014, we thought we were cute, and decided to open a new, full-service restaurant concept called Chop House Burger Bar in St. Catharines.  This was a fully licensed gourmet-burger restaurant with a bar.

After 5 years in the food service industry, most people take a vacation, but nope, not us.  We decided to open an entirely new restaurant concept.  What could go wrong?

We worked 7 days a week, met some new and interesting people, learned A LOT, and forgot who our friends and family were.  We had some good days, and we had some bad days.  There may have been a divorce or two in there somewhere, but somehow, we managed to escape death once again and ride the rough waves of starting a brand new local restaurant/bar.

image of an original chop house menu
original chop house burger bar logo
image of a ticket to the dorchester grand opening
image of the portage location storefront

In late 2015, it was back on the U Need A Pita train.  The Dorchester location in Niagara Falls officially opened in November 2015, and it was one heckuva party!  In the afternoon, the mayor was there along with local magician Scoop McCoy.  In the evening, entertainment was provided by DJ Marinko and The Kac Himself.  Thousands of people showed up!  Sike.  Probably about 10.  Don’t worry, we didn’t take it personally.

The Dorchester location was a slow go when it first opened.  Just goes to show you that the struggle is real, even after you establish a brand in the region.  And this was still in the era of an $11 minimum wage and no delivery apps.  We continued to push on and slowly, but surely, the Dorchester location has built a loyal following and we are so grateful for all of our customers that frequent that spot.

In the summer of 2017, we opened our newest location on Portage Road in Niagara Falls.  It’s been a hit with the students at AN Myer.  Thanks to all of our customers in that area as well!

The journey to five quick service locations in the Niagara region was not an easy or a short one.  Along the way, we made many mistakes, but learned from every single one.  The thing that hasn’t changed since day 1 has been our desire to create a better fast food experience for our customers.  You can always count on us to continue serving real ingredients and preparing them from scratch.

 

In late 2015, it was back on the U Need A Pita train.  The Dorchester location in Niagara Falls officially opened in November 2015, and it was one heckuva party!  In the afternoon, the mayor was there along with local magician Scoop McCoy.  In the evening, entertainment was provided by DJ Marinko and The Kac Himself.  Thousands of people showed up!  Sike.  Probably about 10.  Don’t worry, we didn’t take it personally.

The Dorchester location was a slow go when it first opened.  Just goes to show you that the struggle is real, even after you establish a brand in the region.  And this was still in the era of an $11 minimum wage and no delivery apps.  We continued to push on and slowly, but surely, the Dorchester location has built a loyal following and we are so grateful for all of our customers that frequent that spot.

In the summer of 2017, we opened our newest location on Portage Road in Niagara Falls.  It’s been a hit with the students at AN Myer.  Thanks to all of our customers in that area as well!

The journey to five quick service locations in the Niagara region was not an easy or a short one.  Along the way, we made many mistakes, but learned from every single one.  The thing that hasn’t changed since day 1 has been our desire to create a better fast food experience for our customers.  You can always count on us to continue serving real ingredients and preparing them from scratch.

 

image of a ticket to the dorchester grand opening
image of the portage location storefront

Modern Times…

Change is inevitable and the restaurant industry is an ever-changing beast.  In 2018, we came up with an idea to develop the next iteration of the brand, called U Need A.  We dropped the “Pita” part of the name because we felt we’ve outgrown it over the years.  Our customers come to us for much more than just pitas, so why limit ourselves with a “pita-based” name?  Instead, we are U Need A – pitas, burgers and poutines.

Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.  But will probably change in a couple years.  You know how we are.  We’re learning to relax now too, in case you were wondering.  It’s taken us two years to develop a new menu.  And it’s been about 3 years since we’ve opened a new location.  Somebody got a life I guess…

Did you really read all of this?!  Wow, that’s amazing.  We appreciate your time.  Ultimately, we only exist because of you, and our staff.  By the way, our staff is pretty amazing, eh?  Some have been employed by us since 2009!  Shout out to the current crews at all of our locations, and all of our previous employees.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.  Here’s to another 12 years in this beautiful region we call home, Niagara.

modern u need a logo
modern u need a menu