Saskatchewan

Man from Bangladesh and woman from Sask. First Nation open Indian taco restaurant in Regina

An addiction to Indian tacos leads man from Bangladesh to open Neechies Pizzeria and taco with First Nations fiancée.

'It's all about love. If you love food, you make it good,' says co-owner Khaled Hossain

Tashina Ashdohonk and Khaled Hossain, owners of Neechie's Pizzeria & Taco (Nichole Huck/CBC)

Khaled Hossain fell in love — first with his fiancée Tashina Ashdohonk, and then with Indian tacos. 

Hossain moved to Canada from Bangladesh in 2011, he met Ashdohonk at work and they started dating. She brought him to her home reserve of Carry the Kettle First Nation, Sask., and introduced him to her family and her food. 

"I love food. I try everything and anything," said Hossain. 

The couple was attending a powwow on the First Nation the first time Hossain tried an Indian taco — essentially a classic taco with cheese and sour cream, on top of a piece of bannock. 

"I had two at one time. Then the next time I went I bought four, two to eat there and two to eat for supper," Hossain admitted.

He was hooked. He searched the internet looking for a place in Regina where he could feed his new addiction to fried bread, but came up empty-handed.

"We thought we should have something like that in Regina, so we came up with the idea for the restaurant," Hossain said.

The couple found a spot at 3040 5th avenue in Regina's North Central neighbourhood. Their restaurant is the former home of Noah's Ark Cafe — one of the few places in Regina that sold bannock over the years. 

The neighbourhood has a high indigenous population and the couple said the community has been very supportive of their new business. 
Neechie's Pizzeria and Taco is located on 5th Avenue in Regina's North Central Neighbourhood. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

"The workers from Creeland Gas Station order from us almost every day," said Ashdohonk. 

Secret recipe

Ashdohonk said her aunties came over to teach her fiancé how to make bannock. Hossain laughed when asked about the secret recipe. 

"Food is not rocket science. It's all about love. If you love food, you make it good."

Customer Harlan Slen agrees. He visits several times a week and swears by the "hamburger hangover" soup. 

"I'm from up north — La Ronge, Sucker River — and it brings me back home, home cooking," explained Slen.

The couple serves up hamburger soup on Fridays and Saturdays. For the rest of the week the classic Indian tacos and burgers made with bannock are the best sellers. 

The two have also spiced up their menu by offering a butter chicken sandwich and pizza alongside the bannock pizza.  Hossain said they wanted the name, Neechies Pizzeria and Taco, to reflect the kinds of food being offered. 

"If you walk into Spice of Punjab you don't expect Italian food. We wanted people to know what to expect here."

​This is part of a Morning Edition series on Regina Restaurants. If you have a suggestion for a Regina hidden gem email morningedition@cbc.ca.