Tansi at Neechi Commons: Uncommon Eats
Neechi Commons Tansi Café
Address: 865 Main Street
Phone Number: 204-949-1388
Neighbourhood: North Main
Every restauranteur wants to open shop in a great location where customers flock.
The folks behind Neechi Commons restaurant have been gutsy enough to do it in an uncommon neighbourhood.
Neechi Commons—a combination grocery store, bakery, art gallery and restaurant—opened four months ago at 865 Main Street, several blocks north of downtown Winnipeg in a neighbourhood commonly known as the 'rough part of town.'
Neechi Commons isn't your typical destination for travellers. This neighbourhood's rough-edged history is often evident in the area's buildings and denizens.
Neechi Commons, with its Tansi Café, is part of a concerted effort to rehabilitate the neighbourhood's reputation and bring more people to the area. The co-operative is also focused on hiring neighbourhood aboriginals and youth.
Tansi Café is the work of Talia Syrie, owner and chef of The Tallest Poppy, a nearby restaurant. Syrie's food, both at the Poppy, and at the new café, focuses on homestyle dishes using local food and made-in-Manitoba products. Using grandparents' cooking as the touchstone, the menu features favourites like stew, French toast, eggs and bacon.
Bison, bannock, Manitoba wild rice and blueberries, to name a few foodstuffs, make appearances throughout the classic breakfast and lunch diner menu.
Sandwiches and salads and all-day breakfasts are the foundation at Tansi Café, which is currently open until 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and until 5 p.m Sunday. Weekday breakfast starts at 7 a.m. The restaurant opens 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Customers order at the cafeteria-style counter, adjacent to the open kitchen and line. Food is delivered to the table by friendly staff. We devoured bannock French toast with wild blueberries and wild rice croquettes with a roasted corn salsa on a recent, weekday visit. The dining room—which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking Main Street—was packed with office workers and other professionals, seniors, families with children and students.
Both dishes were flavourful and satisfying. The wild blueberries, in particular, were an instant taste of summer. The crispy and dense wild rice croquettes were bound with mashed sweet potato, providing an extra flash of sweetness in every bite.
After your meal, check out the art gallery, located next to Tansi Café on Neechi Commons' second floor.
Insider's tip: Tansi Café has quickly gained a loyal following. Lunches can be quite busy.