When April Solonyka and her husband open the doors to Stonesedge on July 1, at the former site of beloved locals' hangout Kypriaki Norte, it will be the seventh restaurant she will have had a hand in launching.
The difference is, this time around, it will be Solonyka and her partner Jim Button's names on the deed and food on the tables.
The husband-and-wife team knows a thing or two about the Whistler restaurant scene, with close to 40 years in the industry between them, and approached Kike and Norah Redondo — owners of Kypriaki for almost two decades — with an offer to purchase the Mediterranean eatery last year.
While Kypriaki wasn't initially up for sale, Kike, who's been friends with the couple for years, was impressed with their vision and knew his restaurant would remain in good hands.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us," said Solonyka.
The exuberant couple hopes to make their new 180-capacity gastropub "an extension of their living room" by catering to locals with chef Erin Stone's creative and elegant pub fare that won't cost an arm and a leg.
"We are more focused on the locals with the thought that if they come and love it, the tourists are going to come as well," Button said. "I want a place that I'd feel comfortable coming into that's not outrageously priced, where I can go in and have a great time in a great atmosphere."
And the promise to please locals isn't mere lip service either.
Looking for a bite to eat after that late-night shift at the bar? Stonesedge has got you covered, with the kitchen open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, après and after-hours menus. (The potato pancakes with coffee-infused maple syrup sound like a particularly tasty way to start your day, while the falafel bites with spicy ancho barbecue sauce and Greek yogurt would be a great way to end it.)
Maybe you want a pitcher but your finicky dinner guest doesn't like the same brew as you? Not a problem, as the bar will allow guests to imbibe on four pints of their choice for the same price as a pitcher.
Or maybe you just need more bacon in your life? Try out one of Button's bacon-infused Ceasars through a bacon straw (Yes, you read that correctly).
It's all part of the couple's vision to provide a middle-ground between Whistler's renowned, albeit pricy, fine dining scene, and the influx of pubs that have sprouted up in recent years.
"I feel like Whistler is getting a little bit corporate," Button said. "I've been here for 20 years and I've seen the town grow, and I'm glad that it has, but I also miss all those places you used to be able to go into that were quirky and different. You just don't have that anymore."
And with their backgrounds in food and beverage — Solonyka is the former GM of Elements, while Button was a fixture behind the Maxx Fish bar for nine years — customer service will be a key priority at Stonesedge.
"Service is a passion for Jim and I, and we've been in this industry for years, so it makes my skin crawl when I hear Whistler is known for bad service," Solonyka said. "We don't want to be known just for the product we're serving, but the whole place itself."
Now, Solonyka and Button set their sights on Canada Day for the restaurant's grand opening. For $15, guests will get a sampling of what the menu has to offer, with a DJ playing on the patio. Stonesedge opens for regular service July 2 at 8 a.m.
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