Urban Burritos: Here's how a 20-year-old Burnley chef built a booming Mexican street food takeaway in just two years as business moves to bigger premises
Not many teenagers launch and build a booming takeaway business in just two years.
But that is exactly what this Burnley chef has achieved with his Mexican street food brand.
While business owners with twice his experience are closing the doors on their eateries for good due to a terrible storm of rising prices, a drop in footfall and a changing market, Lewis Walstow, now 20, is expanding Urban Burritos, having moved from Royle Road to bigger premises in Standish Street.
Bored during lockdown, Lewis spent six months perfecting his own recipes and then used his savings to open Burnley's only Mexican food venue in November 2020.
Describing what it is like to be a young successful business owner, he said: “It’s surreal, honestly. I first opened Urban Burritos when I’d just gone 18.
‘Everyone said, ‘You’re too young to own a business.’
“I didn’t think I’d be at this point so early on. It was during lockdown and I had nothing else to do so I decided to go for it. It was definitely a struggle at first but we have an extreme work ethic.”
Apart from completing a short course at college, Lewis is self-taught and gained experience by working in his friend’s restaurant before launching his own takeaway, putting in 16 hours a day to lift it off the ground.
Since then, he and 29-year-old co-chef Lewis Tozer have built a reputation of serving up “authentic” freshly prepared food, with his wraps being imported from America, and customers hailing from across the pond claiming his dishes "taste like home".
Owner Lewis said: “I love Mexican food. It’s something no-one else does around here. Our customers say they’ve always been looking for something like this in Burnley. I’ve never been to Mexico but I know a lot of people who have been. So many of my customers are Mexican or American and they come all the time and say [my menu] tastes unbelievable, like food back home.”
Talking about his dream to grow the brand into a future franchise, the entrepreneur added: “I moved to try to get the college kids in and because this place is three times as big as the other venue. It seemed like a no-brainer.”
The temporary opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm.