A chance dalliance with Haliburton County in 2021 helped convince Timmins-based entrepreneur Jimmy Singh to pick up his life, move nearly 600-kilometres south, and invest in the Highlands.

Singh recently partnered with a friend to open a Burrito Guyz franchise on Highland Street in Haliburton. He spent approximately eight months renovating the space, located inside Stedmans Mall, before opening Jan. 29.

“Business has been very good these first few weeks. The people here in town have been very friendly, very welcoming. We’ve heard lots of good things about our food,” Singh told The Highlander.

The 25-year-old said he saw an opportunity when making a brief pitstop in the area a couple of years ago while driving out to see a friend in Bancroft. Commenting that there were few fast-food options for people, particularly in the downtown, Singh said he wanted to give locals and visitors the chance to “try something new.”

The restaurant specializes in burrito, taco, and quesadilla dishes, with beef, chicken, fish, and vegetarian options available.

He felt it was important to get his new business up and running early in the year to give him as much time as possible to iron out the kinks in anticipation of a busy summer.

Singh relocated to the community permanently in December and said he’s excited to lay down some roots in the area. He’s lived something of a nomadic life since moving to Canada from Raipur, India in 2016. He initially settled in Toronto and studied business at Humber College. After graduation in 2018, he moved north to Kirkland Lake where he helped run an Indian restaurant. In 2020, he moved to Timmins to take a position with McDonald’s.

Small-town living has its appeals, Singh said.

“It’s very quiet out here, and I like that very much. I feel better in smaller communities, it’s much better than living in the GTA,” Singh said. “Things are a lot more relaxed here. People will stop and take a minute out of their day to talk to you… already I’ve made many friends here.”

The store is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Orders can be placed ahead of time online at burritoguyz.ca.