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Regina Restaurant Rakes in the Votes from Across Canada

03/19/2013 01:20 EDT | Updated 05/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Doug Jarrett played in 13 seasons in the NHL, skating across North America with the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. He's dined at fine restaurants across the continent and the one he names as the best in Canada is a 24-year-old establishment in the prairies with a lengthy menu and an even longer list of fans.

Jarrett, who lives near Fort Erie, Ontario, has voted for Memories of Regina, Saskatchewan to earn the People's Choice award in the 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide. He remembers being skeptical about finding superior food in the prairies when he first visited the restaurant in the mid-1990s while working in sales for a steel company.

"My boss took me out there and said there's a nice little restaurant downtown. At that time, I'd eaten in so many great restaurants in so many years, being in Chicago and all, and I thought, 'Sure, let's see about that.' But we got in the place and it turned out to be fabulous. I was very impressed, and we've been going ever since," Jarrett told me on Sunday when we chatted about his selection of Memories in the Vacay.ca poll.

A defenceman who played 775 NHL games from 1964-77, Jarrett says his travels and dining experience give him the confidence to vote for the restaurant that is a local favourite. Whenever he makes his monthly visit to the Saskatchewan capital, the proprietors of Memories even go out of their way to try to replicate a creamed spinach dish he first tried at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto in 1968. "Every time I go, they say, 'Try this one, Dougie, try this one.' They want to get the recipe right," he said of the lengths restaurant owners Nik Selimos and Thomas Siarkos go to please him.

When he cast his vote for Memories, Jarrett wrote, "Being a retired NHLer I have dined in many fine restaurants from coast to coast in Canada and the USA. Memories is one of the best I have had the pleasure to visit and be entertained in."

Another former professional athlete, Scott Schultz, feels the same affinity for the establishment. "Memories has gotta be one of the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada," said the defensive tackle who was a CFL all-star and a Grey Cup champion with the 2007 Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Story by Adrian Brijbassi

Vacay.ca Managing Editor

Visit Vacay.ca to read the rest of this article and learn how you can become the Canadian Foodie of the Year and win a trip to the Top 50 Restaurant of your choice.