County residents will soon have another eating option with Kate’s Burger Counter opening on Lake Kashagawigamog Lake Road.

Co-owner/operator Tanya Smith said, “it has been very trying to open during COVID and getting people in for repairs and getting permits but we are taking it one day at a time and know we will open when the time is right.”

Her life partner, Jon Tulk, is her business partner. Smith said she and Tulk are from Toronto. Smith’s been a horticulturist for the last 21 years, and was running her own garden maintenance company for the last five. Tulk was a high school teacher for 20 years.

“We both decided it was time to leave the city and find a new adventure,” Smith said. “We both love being in the kitchen, him cooking and me baking. We chose the Highlands because my partner’s family had a cottage on Haliburton Lake and we just fell in love with the location when we were shown the place.”

Smith said it all came about as the couple had always dreamed about owning a food truck. They also needed to find work wherever they moved.


“So, I found a space where we could live and work. When we found this place on Kashagawigamog Lake Road, and saw that it already had the working kitchen, it was perfect – our food truck without wheels. We saw the potential and knew we have several options with the space. We learned that it had been a few years since anyone was operating here.”

Smith said Tulk has some food experience from his youth, and from his teaching food and nutrition at his high school. For her, it is a steep learning curve but she will be mostly be at the front of the house with her years of sales experience. The two are owner operators and will hire a few part-timers to help during busy weekends.

“We are going to try our best to keep ingredients local, especially when in season, and we are going to use as little plastic as possible, especially in our take-out containers and water.”

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