Jeepney Restaurant: Where the Republic of Bagnet thrives with a full selection of this Ilocos pride

Carol Barroga, one of the devoted cooks since the beginning in Sargent Ave., has the talent in quality control and consistency in food presentation and service

When you mention bagnet in the Philippines, Ilocos region is where you taste it; and when you mention bagnet in Manitoba, with a lucky charm, Jeepney Restaurant on Inkster and Keewatin is a sure place to enjoy bagnet, a deep-fried pork belly, like lechon which is soft in the inside and crispy on the outside.

“It is really our signature dish that our clients love so much, tasting the pride of the Ilocos Region, where you can savour the best of the Ilocano dishes like bagnet,” said Lucky, the owner, with a glow in her eyes. “And I am determined to enhance more our menus to include bagnet in various dishes that our clients love to experience.”

And the Jeepney being the Republic of Bagnet, one has to be able to experience other dishes that bagnet is the iconic culinary attractions like Bagnet+KBS kamatis (tomato), balayan (fermented fish paste), and sibuyas (onions); Bagnet Red Sinigang, Bagnet Lugaw, Bagnet Mami, Bagnet Palabok, Pancit, and Pinakbet, both topped with bagnet and the most popular, Bagnet Kare-kare!

Another very popular food offering is the Beef Shawarma wrap and rice, all day tapsilog, chicken inasal, sisig and isaw.

And as a perfect pair for every dish is their very own Cucumber Calamansi Juice or Slushie. And don’t forget Cheese Smoothie flavour- Strawberry Wintermelon, ‘Iskrambol shaved ice drink, and the most popular pearl drink with a variety of flavours: Strawberry, Wintermelon, Mango Graham, Milo, Taro, Avocado and more. Another tip: try their milk tea!

Opened a month before the pandemic, in February 2020, Jeepney Restaurant, formerly at Sargent Avenue, the move is reverential in spite of the lockdowns and various medical restrictions. Now, it has become a centerpiece of food services, like dine-in, take-out, delivery, catering, and its unique pop-up events.

Mervin Agustin, chef and co-owner

“The Filipino community has been very supportive since we opened here in the Maples when the Covid-19 became prevalent and I am very thankful for our community for making as the destination to enjoy authentic modern Filipino Asian cuisine,” the lively Lucky said with a ready smile.

Jeepney Restaurant is the fusion of the family’s love for food, as Lucky’s husband, Mervin Agustin, is the brain of enhancing flavours and Lucky as the lady on the move, managing the restaurant with close to 20 employees (mostly part time) .”We have two leads who went to culinary arts school and they are active players to make our dishes to be loved by our clients. It’s a team effort, a family team effort,” Lucky glows with serious enthusiasm, so contagious to talk to.

Jeepney has the vision to look forward with ease and a mission to do much better in the coming years readily tapping the mainstream food lovers.

“Di ba, to dream big, is free,” Lucky said with a quiet grace of laughter. “In five years, God willing, we have many plans to expand, to let our Jeepney Restaurant find locations for our expansion. We want Jeepney Restaurant to be in some locations in Winnipeg and other Manitoba cities for the comfort of our customers who enjoy heartily the food that we serve.”

“Inskter kanto Keewatin po, sakay na kayo, barya lang po,” remembering the cacophony of sounds in Manila, as the iconic Jeepney (military jeep converted into mass transport vehicles, the legacy of the American, and became the symbol of Filipino folk arts and creativity) ready to move on.

And at the same time, adopted by the Agustin family, as the name of their restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to enshrine the “Pride of the Filipinos,” along with Ilocos region’s pride: BAGNET.

Carol, Mercy, Sharmaine and Kayelyn