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Araxi's sister restaurant, Bar Oso, to open Halloween night

Launch date coincides with Araxi's opening on Oct. 31, 1981
DEPARTURE TIME Chef James Walt, left, and restaurant director Neil Henderson will be heading Toptable Group's second Whistler location, Bar Oso, when it opens on Halloween night. The Spanish-inspired restaurant will be something of a departure from Araxi, says Walt, with its casual atmosphere and focus on small plates. File photo

The Toptable Group will pay homage to Whistler's early culinary history with the launch of the much anticipated Bar Oso on Halloween night, exactly 34 years after its sister-restaurant, Araxi, first opened its doors.

"This is where we began over three decades ago so it’s fitting that we welcome our second Whistler property, and sixth in our portfolio, on the same day 34 years later,” said Toptable president Michael Doyle in a release. “We could not be more thrilled to bring the legendary Toptable Group service to Whistler once again.”

Bar Oso, headed by award-winning Executive Chef James Walt and restaurant director Neil Henderson, aims to maintain the standard of quality Araxi is known for, but with a more casual, laidback atmosphere that draws its inspiration from the Spanish tapas bar.

"I'm pretty excited about Bar Oso because it will be a little bit of a departure from Araxi," said Walt. "We designed it around small, well-flavoured dishes of food and a really exciting drink program. It’s not like Araxi, where you’ll sit down and dine for three hours. It will offer more of a chance to come in and try something maybe you haven’t sampled before."

The dual-concept location will include the 40-seat Bar Oso on the ground floor, and a 60-seat space on the lower level for intimate dinners and special events called The Cellar by Araxi.

The menu at Bar Oso will centre around "Spanish-influenced" small plates using local and regional ingredients, house-made charcuterie and hand-crafted cocktails.

The Cellar, meanwhile, will featured a dedicated wine room and will also play host to interactive cooking demos in its show kitchen.

Bar Oso and The Cellar by Araxi are set to open Oct. 31 at #9-4222 Village Square.

Stay tuned to for more information as opening night draws near.