Indigenous cuisine restaurant coming to downtown Brandon

·4 min read

Three Sisters Bannock House has chosen downtown Brandon as its new home.

Local entrepreneurs have secured 908 Rosser Ave. for the restaurant where they plan to celebrate Indigenous foods, arts and cultures.

"We saw a need in the community for not just Indigenous cuisine to be served; we saw a need for Indigenous culture to be at a focal point, so that’s what we wanted to center our restaurant idea around," said Darian Kennedy, who along with his wife, Caitlin Kennedy, are part of a group working to bring the dream of an Indigenous restaurant to life in Brandon.

Other partners include Aushya Houle, Candice Kennedy, Steven Nickle and Giselle Campbell.

They hope to open Three Sisters Bannock House in early 2022.

Both Darian and Caitlin were involved with the launch of the Indigenous Eats food truck earlier this year. A project of the Brandon Friendship Centre, the food truck had a successful first season. Three Sisters Bannock House is a separate venture.

"We didn’t realize how much Brandon appreciates Indigenous cuisine until we saw it with the food truck," Caitlin said. "And we know that the food truck season doesn’t last for very long, so we wanted to give Brandon something where they can come to have that Indigenous cuisine all year round."

It was their time with Indigenous Eats that inspired the name of the restaurant.

"The three sisters are baking powder, salt and sugar. Those are all ingredients to make bannock," Caitlin said. "So when we were working in the food truck, the bannock maker would say ‘Oh, pass the three sisters, please’... so we just wanted to make it our name, because it’s what makes bannock, and it’s the No. 1 thing in our restaurant."

Darian added that the "three sisters" each have their own quality; one is sweet, one is salty and one is bubbly, which reflects different personalities and characteristics in individuals.

Bannock, a type of fry bread, is a significant tradition in some Indigenous cultures. The bread was brought to Canada by Scottish explorers and traders, and Indigenous people adopted the recipe.

"The recipe transferred over to us and we ran with it," Darian said previously. "Indigenous people, although they didn’t create it, they celebrated making bannock."

Three Sisters Bannock House will offer items such as bannock tacos, bison burgers and Indigenous Delight, which is rice and raisins with saskatoon berries and fluffy bannock. Darian said they want to have traditional Indigenous foods with a modern touch. They are working on some specialty menu items which will be announced at a later date.

One of the top priorities is to offer items that remind people of home.

"When you leave the reserve and you come into the city, you miss those dishes from back home," Caitlin said. "We wanted people to come to eat at our restaurant and enjoy these dishes from home."

Caitlin is originally from Swan Lake First Nation, while Darian is from Garden Hill First Nation.

They chose the downtown core location with hopes of breathing new life into the area.

"We saw an opening for kind of revitalization through our food, and through partnering with other new restaurants down the way," Darian said. "What we could be in 10 years, and what Brandon could be in 10 years, not to say that we’re not a booming city, but our downtown definitely needs some work and some ... tender, loving care."

The vision is for Three Sisters Bannock House to be a gathering place for artists, where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can showcase their work.

"We want to be the focal point of Indigenous culture … and help lift up our Indigenous artists and our entrepreneurs, our people and our community," Darian said, adding they plan to play powwow music and feature Indigenous musicians.

As Brandon is the site of a former residential school, Darian said this will be a good place for people to learn about the past that may not have been taught in schools.

"Our focus is trying to promote reconciliation through the ways that we know how to, and that’s through food and customer service and also through sharing our music," he said, adding they want to provide the customer with an "experience and not just a place to eat."

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help fund the grassroots project: The group is also fundraising by selling T-shirts, buttons and mugs with the Three Sisters logo. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

» Jillian Austin is a freelance reporter with the Local Journalism Initiative and a real estate agent with Century 21 Westman Realty Ltd.

» Twitter: @jillianaustin


Jillian Austin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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