You may not know Reta (Sissie) Beauregard, but chances are you love her baking.
Beauregard’s sweet, hefty cinnamon buns have made a trip to the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre restaurant a weekly ritual for a generation of sweet-toothed area residents.
“People know me by the cinnamon buns,” she says with a smile. “A lot of people called me the Cinnamon Bun Lady.”
Now after a quarter-century in the kitchen, Beauregard has hung up her apron. The many bouquets, cards and well wishes she received at a retirement celebration last Friday, July 8 demonstrated the gratitude of her customers.
“I couldn’t believe I had so many friends that came out to wish me good luck,” she says.
Beauregard hired on at the Friendship Centre restaurant in July 1991. That was shortly after Shirley’s Restaurant on Main Street, owned by her sister, closed and left Beauregard looking for work.
Originally from Mafeking, a three-hour drive south of Flin Flon, Beauregard brought years of experience in the restaurant industry.
“I was always in the kitchen,” she says, recalling stints at restaurants or bars in or around Mafeking, Swan River and Bowsman.
When she arrived at the Friendship Centre restaurant, Beauregard learned how to prepare those now-famous cinnamon buns from a cook named Theresa Merasty.
“It was Theresa’s [recipe], I guess,” says Beauregard.
So what makes the buns, baked every Thursday, so popular? Beauregard says she’s not sure, adding with a laugh, “I don’t have a secret ingredient.”
Beauregard says that thanks to customers passing through or travelling from Flin Flon, her cinnamon buns have ventured as far as BC in the west and Toronto in the east – and who knows where else.
Among her legions of satisfied customers is Bill Hanson.
“Sissie makes the sweetest, juiciest, softest cinnamon buns in town,” says Hanson, a city councillor who frequents the Friendship Centre restaurant. “If you’re in there for coffee on a Thursday morning, you will see people…come in and get a rack of 24 [buns]. So obviously I’m not the only fan.
“I don’t know if it’s her unique recipe of sugar and cinnamon, or how she does the dough.
“It’s a good recipe, wherever it came from.”
Hanson describes Beauregard herself as “just a sweet lady” who loves her family.
Beauregard used to be at the restaurant full-time, but she found it difficult to stand for long periods of time following knee surgery. She then worked part-time at both the restaurant and Norman Community Services, where she helped care for mentally challenged adults.
She now plans to work for Norman full-time, but your sweet tooth can be rest assured she has passed down the beloved cinnamon bun recipe to the restaurant staff.
It just wouldn’t be a Thursday in Flin Flon without that sweet aroma.