The former owners of a popular Montreal Indian restaurant are hoping to recreate their recipe for success in Guelph.
Newly opened at 20 Cowan Pl. in the city's south end, Town's Heart serves a variety of dishes from northern India including chicken tikka, vegetable korma and lamb vindaloo, with some southern favourites like biryani.
"It's all from scratch. We grind all the spices (ourselves)," explained Rupinder Miani, who owns the restaurant with her husband Sukhwinder, who does most of the cooking.
Their daughters, 11 and 16, also help out at the business, as does a cousin.
The Mianis owned a similar establishment in downtown Montreal before a family health emergency forced them to relocate to Kitchener in 2017 to be close to specialized southern Ontario hospitals.
"It was difficult," she said. "We didn't want to leave that place, we never wanted to leave, but the circumstances were not in our favour."
At the time, their restaurant Curry Mahal, which is still operating under different owners, had recently received a glowing review in the Montreal Gazette.
"We got very popular, very busy," Miani said. "Health issue came up, we had to leave it."
Settling in Kitchener, Miani, whose background is in biotechnical studies, worked as a technician and as a school bus driver. Her husband worked as a cook. Eventually with the encouragement of their daughters, they decided to try again in the restaurant business.
"They (my daughters) missed something when we moved here," she said, explaining her kids loved being in the busy eatery and the family missed the relationships they had with their customers.
The name of the new restaurant, which opened last week, was also chosen by her girls.
"They said okay, 'we're going to put 'Town's Heart' because we're going to make it like the heart of the city and we're doing something from the heart,'" she explained.
Asked if the family learned any tricks from their past venture they can employ in Guelph, Miani says no.
"We don't have tricks. It's very simple the way we do it here," she says, explaining they're just looking to make good affordable food.
Town's Heart menu and hours are available here.