Whistler is pretty small, so it’s hard to imagine that one of the town’s jewels is often overlooked in the hype surrounding the picturesque village and Franz’s Trail, post-facelift. But business is booming down in Function Junction, that industrial area about eight kilometres south of the heart of town, and locals are catching on.
Speaking as someone who spends about 40 hours each week on “the other side of the tracks” (the Pique’s offices are on Alpha Lake Road), it’s safe to say that this neighbourhood is growing in leaps and bounds. With all of the new offices, storefronts, and even residential buildings opening up in the area, logic dictates that the food must follow.
There have been quite a few mix-ups in “The Junk” lately (note: that is, in fact, an affectionate nickname for the area). A few of the food establishments have recently changed hands, so here’s an update for the good people of Whistler on where you can grab a bite in our neck of the woods.
A solid Function favourite is Delish, a small café that is conveniently located right next door to our offices (ideal for a pre-deadline caffeine jolt). Delish also dishes up a wide variety of tasty treats, from assorted paninis, homemade soups, to my own personal favourite, scones. At lunchtime, there’s almost always a group of hungry guys in construction gear lined up to the doorway, waiting as the friendly counter staff deftly deal with the midday rush.
If you have a little longer for your break, and can take some time for a sit-down lunch, follow the parade of trucks down to the Wild Wood Café — you’ll probably have a hard time finding a parking spot now that the Muni has cracked down on parking in the cul-de-sac, and you may have to wait for upwards of 30 minutes for your meal during the lunch rush, but it’s well worth the growling tummy. They dish up a mean pasta special, and their half sandwich, salad and soup combo is great bang for your buck. And for any other displaced east coaster out there: they make a “Halifax donair” which is pretty damn close to the real thing.
And who can forget Millar Creek Café? With a prime location at the centre of The Junk, coupled with an extensive, creative menu of wholesome foods, it’s little wonder that this establishment has stood the test of time. (If you like spicy, try their hot and sour soup.)
Whistler Cooks used to sell lunch from their storefront, offering fresh sandwiches and salads, daily specials, and fresh baked cookies laced with chunks of chocolate. Unfortunately for those of us who call Function home during the weekdays, Grant and Hilarie Cousar, the owners and operators, opted to stop their lunch service last August, deciding to focus on their line of fresh sauces and their ever-growing catering service. RIP chocolaty afternoon cookie treat.
Sisters Jen Dewar and Helen Campbell have owned and operated Cracked Pepper for almost four years, but as business booms with the construction of the athletes’ village across Highway 99, they’ve decided to sell.
“We had been thinking about it for quite a while, and we just decided it was a good time,” Dewar explained. “We didn’t want to do the Olympics, and I’m having a baby in September and I already have a two-year-old, as well.”
The sisters have worked out in The Junk for almost 10 years now, and Dewar said they’ve seem the area grow rapidly in that time.
“We’ve really enjoyed Function because it’s such a local community down here, and also the fact that people are really open to different food down here because it is local, I believe,” Dewar added.
From meat curry to tofu stir-fry, the eclectic, well-traveled clientele of Function is willing to try just about anything.
Pat Beverage, the new owner, is a chef and used to work at Ciao Thyme Bistro, so he should continue to bring a fresh, creative flair to the kitchen table.
And a few short months ago, much to my chagrin, the Rabbit Hole — Whistler’s Own Bakeshop — mysteriously closed their doors. But recently, a new sign appeared on the façade of the building, reading “Mum’z Kitchen.”
Jay Rolston took over the space in March, and after some extensive renovations and changes to the menu, reopened as Mum’z at the beginning of May.
Over the seven seasons Rolston has spent in Whistler, he’s worked at a lot of restaurants and food establishments, and said he noticed there weren’t a lot of places offering wholesome, inexpensive food on the go.
So, with the help of his Swiss fiancé, Rolston decided to try his hand at opening his own café. They bake their own breads, and the same muffins and bars the Rabbit Hole used to offer, with lots of vegetarian-friendly options on offer, like a delicious Swiss crepe, loaded with egg and veggies.
They’re currently only offering breakfast and lunch, but hope to expand their menu to offer dinner options as the business grows. Did I mention that they deliver?