Well before winning the 2019 Western Canadian Music Award for Visual Media Composer of the Year, Jeffery Straker had established himself as an icon within Canada’s folk-country music scene. With a career that now spans more than 14 years, the Prairie born-and-raised singer-songwriter has come a long way as an artist since his early days of climbing stacks of hay bales in rural Saskatchewan.
Straker has released seven albums while performing over 100 shows per year across Canada and around the world. He has received widespread critical acclaim throughout his career, often being compared to other legendary performers, such as Kris Kristofferson, Carole King, and Billy Joel.
Straker's newly-released single “Morning Light” is now available to stream on all platforms, providing listeners with a taste of his upcoming 2021 album, Just Before Sunrise. When he isn’t composing music touring with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, Jeffery loves to indulge in a good meal and a refreshing drink. These are some of the spots where he loves to dine in his hometown of Regina.
Local Fresh and Sweet is a short and sweet walk from my house, which is how I first found it. And I’ve gone back ever since. Their full breakfast menu is available on weekends. During the week they still serve breakfast but some of the weekend items aren’t available (i.e. pancakes). I find myself typically getting the eggs Benny or the chicken waffle--I’m a bit of a creature of habit.
The menu is really creative, with items divided up into “savoury” and “sweet” categories to help you navigate. Every time I’m there I see a plate of the strawberry feta waffles or white chocolate banana bread French toast go by and I repeatedly ask myself: Why didn’t I get that?
Some of their menu ideas are really genius. I’ve had the pumpkin loaf French toast (it comes with cream cheese on top) and it was off the charts. Very cleverly, they offer up some breakfast plates that combine smaller portions of some of these things I’ve mentioned above all onto one plate. Throw away your scale and you’re welcome.
When I'm not on the road I’m typically working from home and to cram in as much work as possible, I often cook lunch in my own kitchen. But every now and then I make my way out into town for some lunch bites. A grab-and-go lunch spot I love is The Italian Star Deli.
The paninis are legendary and for good reason. Buy one, bite in and you’ll sigh out loud--don’t say I didn’t tell you you’d be hooked. The little deli is on Victoria Ave near Broad Street, and I’m willing to bet there isn’t a soul in Regina who doesn’t know about this place. I always order a full panini (not the half) but I have a huge appetite. I think a lot of people (most people?) would be fine with the half. You can order them mild, medium or hot--I go medium.
I also order mine with feta cheese for one buck more, but they come with Provolone as part of the basic sandwich order. Call them to order in advance since they get a well-deserved rush at lunch. Oh yes, they have a bunch of extra fillings you can add in and you can actually double the meat for a bit of an extra charge. They could call themselves the Italian four-star deli based on what everyone thinks of it. Legendary for decades. (Say hi to Carlo.)
There are so many places I could include here, but I’m going to gravitate to the land of burgers because I love a good burger. One of Regina’s first (if not the first?) brewpub is The Bushwakker Brew Pub. It’s in an old (1913) Chicago-style warehouse in Regina’s fairly trendy warehouse district along Dewdney Avenue. They have a pretty wide-ranging menu but I typically just go for the tried and true Wakker Burger with fries.
Their nachos are also the stuff of local legend. On the Wakker burger, you can get the patty in beef, bison or veggie--and they’re all made in-house. The fries are plenty too. It’s a one-of-a-kind-place and was doing craft beer way before craft beer was cool. Cheryl Tovey, who has been there for years, is the absolute best and the blonde ale they make takes her name, “Cheryl’s Blonde”. They have a lot of live music too.
I’m a fanatical lover of craft beers and Regina is blessed with a lot of great craft breweries as well as rooms to sip these splendid suds. A mere two-minute walk from my backyard gate is the Pile o Bones Brewing Company and Tap Room. This is a fairly new addition to Regina’s suds scene, and the proximity to my pad is both perfect and problematic all at once lol.
The indoor taproom is open-concept and welcoming and the great outdoor (dog-friendly) patio has umbrellas at the tables and ample room all around. They serve not only their own brews but importantly, they also carry a wide and well-curated selection of ales, stout, lager, porter, sours, radlers, ciders, blondes etc. from all across Saskatchewan’s quickly expanding craft scene. Their very own Pile o Bones white IPA has become a favourite of mine and a close second is the Space Cadet IPA.
Digital beer lists/boards above the bar show how full/empty each keg is and you can also access their tap-listing on the Digital Pour app. If this isn’t enough, there is top-drawer Mexican food available from the talented Malinche. I order the tacos out of habit, but it’s all very delicious.