Get Stuffed - It takes a village 

Sushi Village still in the race despite renovations

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Manager Todd Hardie agreed. "The atmosphere here is different to most Japanese restaurants. We’re a lot noisier I guess thanks to the jumbo sakes that flow freely in the tatami rooms. The music is cool and the staff are all pretty happy go lucky. Give them half a chance and they’ll pump you full of our sake margaritas. You don’t find that anywhere else," he said, pushing another of their new fall flavours, a mixed berry marg, closer in front of me.

The current alterations to the Westbrook building should be complete by December, but in the meantime it’s business as usual at Sushi Village. Look out for new colour schemes, windows and framing plus a grand sweeping staircase right up to the front door. Miki can’t wait to see the finished product – the first major facelift in more than 15 years.

"It’s about time we spruced up the site, I agree, but times have been worse," Miki recalled, thinking back to the first few years of operation. "There had never been Japanese this far away from the city before but we were excited about combining jobs in the restaurant industry with the skiing," said the Japanese import who relocated from Vancouver.

"At the end of the day we didn’t really care about the money but knew we would be able to eat. Everybody told us we were stupid to be making the move. They said we would lose the business fast, that we would go broke. For the first three years I was starting to believe them. It was Expo and everyone expected lots of visitors to Whistler, but it didn’t happen. The weather too was not attractive and it was tough. I was looking out the window of my empty restaurant for a few summers looking for some nice trees to hang myself under," he joked.

Luckily for Miki and the many regulars to Sushi Village, things turned around and soon the Japanese joint was jumping. Not bad for a man who used to study organic chemistry.

"My degree definitely helps with the sake making," he laughed.

Try the new dumbo size (62 oz) sake bottles and ignore the mess outside, you won’t be disappointed. Sushi Village is open seven days a week. Dinner from 5:30 p.m.; lunch noon-2:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Phone 604-932-3330 for reservations.

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