Smoothie operator: Hundo-P is a hidden gem in the heart of Village Square 

Smoothie bar expands to seven days a week next month

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRANDON BARRETT - SMOOTH SAILING Hundo-P owner Mike Whalen saw a niche that needed filling in Whistler for quick, healthy and substantial snacks for locals and visitors on the go.
  • Photo by Brandon Barrett
  • SMOOTH SAILING Hundo-P owner Mike Whalen saw a niche that needed filling in Whistler for quick, healthy and substantial snacks for locals and visitors on the go.

Mike Whalen has got smoothies on the brain.

"Basically everywhere I was travelling for the past three or four years, I was drinking smoothies," he said. But the Newfoundland native's research was more for business than pleasure; he is the owner-operator of the new village smoothie bar, Hundo-P.

After buying a residential unit in the same building back in 2015, Whalen wanted to fill the cozy, 200-square-foot space on the ground floor that had previously been used as a concierge desk. Looking for a concept with relatively low overhead, Whalen saw a niche that needed filling for health-conscious Whistlerites on the go.

"I was always walking around the village hungry, but didn't want to spend $15 or $20 and wait 25 minutes to sit down and eat," he said. "I was looking for it when I was walking around ... that kind of healthy, quick substantial snack."

Offering nine different smoothies, each recipe features plenty of protein (with vegan protein available at no extra charge) and organic, nutritious dried goods to get you recharged and back to 100 per cent (hence the shop's name). So far, the most popular drink is the Nutz & Bolts, featuring walnuts, peanut butter, bananas, dates, cacao nibs, cinnamon and chocolate almond milk. I can also personally attest to the deliciousness of the PB&J, made with peanut butter, bananas, blueberries and pomegranate juice, that not only tastes just like your favourite childhood snack, but comes out in a radiant purple hue.

Whalen said he borrowed from some of his favourite smoothie shops in Vancouver, where he splits his time, as well as from more exotic locales like Tulum, Mexico and Bali, Indonesia. Despite only ever having one cup of coffee in his life, Whalen also came up with the unique creation, called Bohemian Rhapsody, which features cold brew coffee, walnuts, coconut, banana, cinnamon, chia and cacao nibs.

Whalen's approach to the menu was to strike a balance that many Whistlerites strive for in their personal lives as well.

"There are juices, there are smoothie spots in town, but they're a little bit more vegetable-based, a bit more 'of the Earth,'" he explained. "I wanted mine to be a very healthy option, but we're all about balance. Work hard, play hard. I need it to taste good, I need it fill me up, and I need to put in my body the stuff I've been neglecting for the last three or four days because I've just been eating burgers and fries and Coronas."

The shop also sells protein supplements and a number of locally made, organic treats from around the Sea to Sky—with hopes of adding to the offerings.

"I'm looking for more and more local people," Whalen said.

Opened in August, Hundo-P is the culmination of close to four years of work for Whalen, who said he had to cut through a fair bit of red tape at municipal hall just to get off the ground.

"I turned a dead space into a funky little, Whistler-unique business idea, created a couple cool jobs, and the roadblocks they put in front—'cause I was creating a new address, and the bylaws have all been designed to make sure places couldn't subdivide," he said, adding that he'd like to see more support for small-business owners.

"The newer businesses, let's help them in the early years and make sure they're here 20 years from now," he said.

Tucked away in Village Square at 4211 Sunshine Place, right across from The Grocery Store, Whalen knows Hundo-P can be hard to stumble upon if you're not looking for it. That's part of why he's committed to serving the locals first, offering discounts to Club Shred members, as well as to employees from a handful of local businesses in the neighbourhood. He said he's also given his staff the freedom to offer discounted smoothies to regulars who come back time and again.

"I'm really trying to look after the community because they're the ones that are going to help me have a business that can survive," he said. "The tourists and the visitors will make me have a successful business, but the locals are the ones that are going to be here in November needing a smoothie in between shifts. They're the ones who are going to come by after the gym, in January, no matter what the weather is like."

Hundo-P is currently open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with plans to expand to seven days a week on Dec. 1, with new hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more, visit hundop.ca.

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