October 19, 2020

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Royal rumble

As Game of Thrones wraps up Sunday, we survey Winnipeg's own royal leaders for worthy successors

Lena Headey as Queen Cersei on Game of Thrones

HBO FILES

Lena Headey as Queen Cersei on Game of Thrones

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/5/2019 (520 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

And the winner is...

For eight tumultuous seasons, fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones have been speculating who the last king or queen left standing, er, sitting on the Iron Throne will be, when the immensely popular TV program wraps up on Sunday night, following its 73rd and final episode.

Heck, if you’re the wagering type, you might even have a groat or two riding on the fictional character you think is going to come out on top. Prior to Season 8, Sportingbet.com, an online gambling website, made King in the North Jon Snow (yay!) the odds-on favourite to rule Westeros when all is said and done, while Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Cersei Lannister (boo!) was listed as an 18 to 1 underdog to retain her gold crown. Equally amusing: Mybookie.ag invited high rollers to put their Game of Thrones acumen to the test, via a number of prop bets, among them, "Who will die first? Arya Stark -200 / Sansa Stark +140" and "Is Bran the Night King? Yes +300 No -400."

Obviously come Monday morning, there will be a dragon-size hole left in Fannisters’ — the name often given to GoT devotees — hearts, now that their favourite program has reached its conclusion. But because it was recently reported that HBO plans to develop as many as four more series based on the fantasy universe created by author George R.R. Martin, it’s safe to assume the cable network still has a few twists and Tyrions left up its sleeve, going forward.

With that in mind, we recently hit the streets to see if there are any regal-types in our neck of the woods Thrones writers might want to consider adding to the mix the next time around, now that the vast majority of the show’s ruling class has been poisoned, beheaded, disemboweled or (sorry, not sorry, Ramsay Bolton) eaten by their own canines since the show premiered in April 2011.

Here’s a bit of what we came up with...

FALAFEL QUEEN

Reign: 2013 – present

Jumana Zeid and her mother Khetam Zeid  in their Falafel Queen food truck on Broadway and Carlton. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)



See Dave Sanderson story.  



May 14, 2019

RUTH BONNEVILLE

Jumana Zeid and her mother Khetam Zeid in their Falafel Queen food truck on Broadway and Carlton. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press) See Dave Sanderson story. May 14, 2019

From 1993 to 1996, Khetam Zeid was the proprietor of Jerusalem Café, a Portage Avenue restaurant that specialized in entrees from her Palestinian homeland. Following that she operated a seasonal hotdog cart, which she and her daughter Jumana traded in six years ago for a food truck they immediately dubbed Falafel Queen, a nod to Khetam’s signature dish.

Royal domain: Monday to Friday, from mid-April to mid-October, the mother-and-daughter team can be found at the northeast corner of Broadway and Hargrave Street, peddling lunch-time favourites such as beef shawarma, falafel wraps and donairs.

"My mom goes home to Palestine for three or four months every winter, and comes back with the spices we use in our chicken and beef," Jumana says, replying "oh, as early as 10 (a.m.)," when asked what time downtown workers begin lining up for her and her mother’s tasty — and filling — fare. "Every night, we prepare everything fresh for the next day. I think that’s part of the reason so many people tell us the falafel they try at other places around town doesn’t compare to ours... that what we serve is the best they’ve ever had."

Game of Thrones prediction? "Sorry, I don’t have one," Jumana says. "I’ve never seen a single episode. I don’t even know what it’s about, really."

 

GARAGE DOOR KING

Reign: 2009 – present

Stan Summers named his business Garage Door King in honour of his late father, Al. ‘That and it sounds good. Nobody’s going to be calling the Garage Door Prince or whatever when there’s an emergency.’ (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Stan Summers named his business Garage Door King in honour of his late father, Al. ‘That and it sounds good. Nobody’s going to be calling the Garage Door Prince or whatever when there’s an emergency.’ (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

His hoodie, ball cap and business card all read "Garage Door King," but the real king was his late father, Al, who taught him everything he knows about the biz, says Stan Summers.

"I officially registered my name in ‘09 but I’ve been fixing garage doors for more than 20 years, all over Canada, as far north as Whitehorse and Yellowknife," he continues, seated in a Logan Avenue breakfast nook near his place of work. "My dad did this for 35 years and I grew up listening to him talk about doors my whole life. He was the best there was at it, so when it came time to choose a name, I picked Garage Door King, sort of in honour of him. That and it sounds good. Nobody’s going to be calling the Garage Door Prince or whatever, when there’s an emergency."

Summers offers 24-hour service but even that isn’t enough for some customers whose car is stuck in their garage, due to a broken cable, spring, roller or hinge.

"I tell them I’ll be there in an hour, after I fetch all my gear into the truck etc., but they still ask if I can get there quicker," he says with a laugh, adding rarely a day goes by when he doesn’t field a call from somebody who didn’t brake quickly enough, and now their garage door is resting on top of the hood of their car. "I’m the guy nobody wants to see, ever, but when they need me, they can’t see me fast enough."

Game of Thrones prediction: "I’m familiar with it — you can’t go on Facebook these days without somebody talking about it — but no, I haven’t watched an episode," he says. "But sitting here talking about it with you, I’ve gotta say, now I’m definitely interested."

 

VIDEO KING

Reign: 1984 – present

Glen Fuhl, owner of Video King, stands inside of the business he has been running for 35 years, which is located at 309 Day Street in Transcona. (Sasha Sefter / Winnipeg Free Press)

Glen Fuhl, owner of Video King, stands inside of the business he has been running for 35 years, which is located at 309 Day Street in Transcona. (Sasha Sefter / Winnipeg Free Press)

Glen Fuhl, owner-operator of Video King, a home entertainment biz based in Transcona, has heard about the blood-soaked clashes waged on Game of Thrones, thanks to his show-loving, 21-year-old daughter Tia. Still, he doubts even the Battle of the Bastards or Battle of Winterfell compares to the VHS vs. Beta war his line of work faced, in the 1980s.

"VHS obviously won out, but what’s funny is that Beta was the format-of-choice in the Kenora area, where we also had a store, for the longest time," Fuhl says. "We were still renting movies on Beta there, right up until the mid-1990s."

Royal domain: Based out of a storefront location at 309 Day St., Video King distributes for-rent DVDs and Blurays to rural dealers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwest Ontario. Fuhl guesses his catalogue is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60,000 titles — an impressive total given he stops short of describing himself as a movie buff.

"I can’t say I have a favourite (movie); it might sound funny for a guy called the Video King, but I don’t really watch that many movies."

Game of Thrones prediction? "I’m going to turn you over to my daughter for that one," Fuhl says, rolling his eyes.

"I’ve read that it’s going to be a bittersweet ending, which to me means it’s not going to be Daenerys (Targaryen)," says Tia, a University of Manitoba student. "For that reason I’m thinking it’s going to be a middle character, maybe Sansa or Tyrion."

 

THERMO KING

Reign: 1938 - present

(Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

(Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

When dealing directly with clients, Thermo King GM Shelley Wowryk sometimes jokes, stating it’s the Thermo Queen at the other end of the phone, trying to solve their problems.

Royal domain: "Goodness, gracious; our business (in Winnipeg) has been going since the ‘70s, but Thermo King itself dates back to the ‘30s and ‘40s," Wowryk says. "We’re a global company, with manufacturers in Ireland, Puerto Rico, the States… some of our stuff even comes out of China."

"That’s an easy one," she replies, when asked what type of battles Thermo King faces on a day-to-day basis. "We specialize in refrigerated transport units; basically everybody that’s moving food that has to be kept cold to grocery stores is using our equipment.

Our biggest struggle, for sure, is keeping customers’ equipment on the road; sometimes a truck’s refrigeration unit will break down with a load of ice cream in the back, when it’s 30 above outside. Basically we have an hour or two to get that fixed, before we have 53 feet of milkshake on our hands."

Game of Thrones prediction: "For sure, Jon Snow," says Rod Warren, Thermo King’s parts manager and resident GoT expert. "Shelley doesn’t watch the show but probably feels like she does, because I fill her in on everything that happens, on Monday morning. The thing I love most about the show is you can’t fall in love with one particular character, because there’s a better than even chance they’re going to end up getting killed off, in the next episode."

 

SPRINGROLL QUEEN

Reign: 2016 – present

Roweliza Lulu is ‘sooo busy ruling my own queendom’ she has no time for Game of Thrones. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Roweliza Lulu is ‘sooo busy ruling my own queendom’ she has no time for Game of Thrones. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

After a couple years preparing her homemade spring rolls in a Winnipeg commercial kitchen, Roweliza Lulu opened a permanent location of her own in September 2018 at 975 Notre Dame Ave. She retained the name Springroll Queen, an appropriate tag given she turns out in the neighbourhood of 20 different types, including such royally inventive flavours as crab rangoon, apple pie and — we’ll take a dozen, please — bacon-jalopeno.

Royal domain: "My domain is all of Winnipeg and the surrounding area," Lulu says, crediting her mother, "an absolutely phenomenal cook," for teaching her how to make lumpia practically with her eyes closed. "We are popular in Transcona, Garden City, downtown, St James, St Vital, etc, etc. We also have orders reaching northern Manitoba, as far away as Flin Flon.

Game of Thrones prediction: "I don’t watch Game of Thrones, mostly due to the fact I’m sooo busy ruling my own queendom of loyal customers."

 

KING OF BUTTER CHICKEN

Reign: 2018 - present

Aman Bajwa is too busy coming up with Indo-Canadian takes on butter chicken to stay on top of Game of Thrones. ‘I haven’t watched an episode.’ (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Aman Bajwa is too busy coming up with Indo-Canadian takes on butter chicken to stay on top of Game of Thrones. ‘I haven’t watched an episode.’ (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Owner Aman Bajwa says it was a no-brainer naming his restaurant King of Butter Chicken, given his kitchen "makes the best butter chicken in the whole city, no doubt about it."

Royal domain: Bajwa, whose locale (775 Corydon Ave.) opened in May 2018, doesn’t just offer the sort of tandoor-cooked butter chicken you can find at Indian buffets all over town. Instead, his restaurant concentrates on what he describes as Indo-Canadian takes on the popular dish, namely, butter chicken naan pizza, butter chicken burgers and butter chicken spaghetti.

"No, I came up with that one myself," he says with a laugh, when asked whether butter chicken poutine, another of his specialties, was on the curriculum at Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, where he studied culinary arts.

Game of Thrones prediction: "I’ve heard of the show, certainly, but other than seeing bits and pieces on YouTube, I haven’t watched an episode," he says.

david.sanderson@freepress.mb.ca

David Sanderson

Dave Sanderson was born in Regina but please, don’t hold that against him.

   Read full biography

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