Saskatchewan

Bannock-serving restaurant aims to bring community together

Neechie's Pizzeria & Taco is putting a twist on its tacos and burgers.

Indian Taco and Burger hot sellers at north central Regina restaurant

Co-owners Tashina Ashdohonk, center, and Khaled Hossain, right, pose with colleague Cheyanne Spencer at their newly opened restaurant Neechie's Pizzeria & Taco. (Evan Radford/CBC)

Among Regina's plethora of eateries, pubs, diners and bars, north central Regina's newest restaurant is looking to provide two meals not easily found elsewhere: Indian Tacos and Indian Burgers.

Neechie's Pizzeria & Taco opened shop four days ago, and its owners have already dealt with a busted front window and busy lunch rushes from customers. 

"Our first day that we were trying to open, someone smashed our window. We weren't even going to open that day. But we just, you know, chose to go on, so we did. And it was a successful day ... we were so busy," said co-owner Tashina Ashdohonk.

She and her fiance Khaled Hossain decided to open and operate the restaurant together.

Khaled Hossain, left, and Tashina Ashdohonk are co-owners of Neechie's Pizzeria & Taco in north central Regina. The restaurant's front window was smashed on their first day of business. (Evan Radford/CBC)

The pair noticed that among Regina's variety of options to eat out — including Italian, Greek and Spanish — the city was lacking in one specific area: restaurants that serve aboriginal food. 

"Actually, we wanted to do this for her," said Hossain, referring to his fiance's indigenous background.

Hence the new restaurant's popular Indian Taco and Indian Burger, both of which use bannock, instead of flour tortillas or wheat buns.

The couple's new venture replaces community staple Noah's Ark Cafe at the same spot on Fifth Avenue. Noah's Ark also served bannock.

Beyond serving aboriginal food, Ashdohonk said she knows she's keeping an important community fixture running. 

"My favourite thing is serving the food that the customers love from here. We're in a neighbourhood that's with my culture. So you know, what they're craving, what they want," she said. 

On midday Monday, the small eating area was packed with several kids, a few parents pushing strollers and a few singles picking up an Indian Taco to go.

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