Treats and eats off the beaten path

If you’ve been to a movie in Whistler lately, you’ve probably noticed a delicious new smell or two mingling in with the buttery popcorn scent wafting through the air. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what that lovely odour is — ribs, chicken, or wings — but I can tell you that it’s coming from the reborn Three Below.

That’s right, the underground eatery that closed up two summers ago has opened its doors again, but make no mistake, it’s a whole new ball game at Three Below.

The new owners, Pri, “Taff” and Lewi, just took over the space, opening for business about two months ago. In that time, they’ve managed to completely transform the space, adding an impressive bar and brightening it up from the formerly dark digs, which closely resembled a dungeon.

More importantly, however, they’ve also brought in a whole new menu, inspired by their own favourite dishes and treats. Their mission: comfort food with a twist for locals.

The group of friends is originally from the UK, and has spend the past few years splitting their time between Whistler in the winter and Greece in the summer — tough life, eh? But when they recently decided that they wanted to put down some deeper roots here in Whistler, it was time to find a business to devote their time and attention to.

It’s clear that they’ve thrown themselves into their new venture. “Here, you need to be in your business,” Pri pointed out.

The menu is concise, but varied, with everything from original creations to long-time family favourites designed to warm you up. It includes Pri’s home recipe for butter chicken (and yes, it’s actually her family’s recipe), Lewi’s homemade burgers made with fresh beef, which are Taff’s favourite menu option, and many more choices to entice people to return and try something different.

They even have a signature Three Below martini, a fruity and sweet treat served in a stemless martini glass.

Most importantly, their focus is on fresh; the fries are hand-cut, thick and seasoned, served with a side of palm dip. The rack of ribs ($20) is so moist and tender that the meat literally fell off of the bone when I touched it with a fork. Served with the above-mentioned hand-cut fries and fresh coleslaw, this is about as comforting as food gets.

And as someone who is a bit curry-shy, I was surprisingly blown away by Pri’s butter chicken dish — the meat was tender, and the sauce was spicy without being overwhelming.

Finally, for dessert, I tried this banana pastry concoction. Now, no one could seem to agree on a name for this dish, but seeing as it features chocolate, banana, caramel, pastry and ice cream, I shall refer to it as “heaven on a plate” from here on in.

With a menu like this, Pri, Taff and Lewi shouldn’t have any problem finding a loyal following.

Since opening, they’ve started developing a great partnership with the theatre, working together to offer special promotions and host events, like grand opening parties for big premieres. Just a few weeks ago, for the new Bond movie, they offered a three-course meal, drink and VIP seating for $45.

But they’re also focusing on ensuring that their prices are reasonable, offering 2 for 1 bowls on Tuesdays, the same night as local’s night at the theatre, 35-cent wings through the week days, and a year-round 20 per cent local’s discount on all food. All of the menu items are available for take-out, and in the New Year, they even plan on launching a lunchtime delivery service for businesses in the village.

Sports are also a central focus of the new Three Below, though they certainly shouldn’t be labeled a sports pub. They offer an impressive array of “global sporting events” — everything from hockey and football to the “other” football and rugby — as part of their weekly schedule.

So far, their approach seems to be working. They’re seeing lots of repeat customers that are returning to sample more of their fresh, homestyle comfort food in a casual atmosphere. They’re also not shy, so don’t be surprised if they stop to ask you for input on the menu.

Their hours are from 3 p.m. until midnight Monday to Thursday, and noon to midnight Friday to Sunday, so don’t hesitate to swing by and check it out, even if you aren’t heading to a flick!


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