Regina's North Central Bannock House
- Julia Peterson | December 11, 2019
The Bannock House has become a staple of Regina’s North Central neighborhood. Two and a half years after it first opened its doors, they have been serving up comfort food from its 5th Avenue location all year long as well as from a food truck in the summer.
Owner/operator Pamela Carpenter says that a restaurant like this one, with its accessible menu and affordable prices, is critical in a neighborhood that doesn’t have many dining or grocery options.
“I know the need for it in this neighborhood,” she said. “I grew up here, I raise my kids here … and my kids used to go to school every day with 7/11 and McDonalds food. This community is like a food desert. But I know that bannock is affordable food, and everybody eats bannock in every walk of life. So, I keep my prices low.”
Dave Morris, a regular customer, says the positive atmosphere is what keeps him coming back.
“Here’s good, friendly people,” he said. “They know what they’re talking about. Everything is positive about the joint. Everything good goes here.”
With limited options for purchasing bannock in Regina, Carpenter has found that the restaurant’s food has been very popular.
“We came on the food truck scene last year and won third place at the Food Truck Wars rematch in June,” she said. “Nobody else has bannock in Regina. You can get it off Facebook Marketplace, but if it’s Canada’s first people, why is there every kind of food from across the world but we don’t have a restaurant doing this Indigenous food in Regina?”
The Bannock House began as an initiative from the All RISE Project, which focuses on developing community-driven support services centered on traditional Indigenous values in urban Regina. Although they are no longer involved with the restaurant, Carpenter has continued to support the organization’s original mission by hiring from within the community and training students.
“We partner with SaskPolytech now and I’ve done a partnership with Albert Park Community Centre,” she said. “We take students and do six-week training courses – they help me, I help them. I train them on everything from prepping the food to doing the till and customer service.”
Around this time of year, Carpenter says that the restaurant often caters to larger groups who want to enjoy this traditional food while they celebrate the holiday season.
“Over the holidays, it’s lovely,” she said. “There’s more family functions, gatherings and ceremonies – those kinds of things where people are ordering 20 pieces, 40 pieces, 100 pieces of bannock.”