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Striking gold



Hoz has transformed the Grill Room to Mexican and put it in the hands of Newf

My Spanish was never strong but I figured the name El Tipo was not just what happens to the body after one too many margaritas.

According to El Tipo’s bartender Steve, the phrase literally translates into "the type" and when used in conversation means "the dude." In the new Creekside cantina’s case, it must mean Rob Giffin, affectionately known as Newf, for obvious eastern geographic roots.

Newf has been the manager of this cosy, casual restaurant since it re-opened in December and if last Sunday night’s trade is anything to go by, he and owner Ron Hosner (a.k.a Hoz) have got a sure-fire winner on their hands.

At 7 p.m. the smallish room adjoining Hoz’s pub was filled to capacity, buzzing with diverse diners ranging from the ski bum crowd to kids in high chairs and well dressed tourists. The lively, authentic ambience housed a crackling fireplace in the corner, pink coloured leadlight windows, dangling fairy lights, bright paper mache parrots and a few Sombrero hats thrown in to good effect. The rustic tables and chairs were packed in between an open kitchen and Newf’s pride and joy, a shrine to tequila known as "The Wall Of Gold."

Talking to Newf about tequila is like talking to a pro-skier about, well, skiing. He can run off labels thick and fast without flinching, his lips salivating with every description.

"Basically you’ve got a choice with tequila in terms of age and quality. There’s the gold tequilas, which are considered more premium but really it’s just colouring. The distinction really comes down to whether it’s a Resposado, varying from three up to 12 months old; or Anejo, which has been aged a year or more. There isn’t much tequila older than that, unless it’s been sitting in your liquor cabinet, but oh what a terrible waste," Newf laughed.

El Tipo’s resides in the former home of the Creekside Grill Room, right next door to Hoz’s Pub. It was a higher end steakhouse in a previous life that was popular in winter but sat empty in the summer months. Hoz decided he didn’t want a seasonal operation anymore and so a new direction was discussed.

"Ron secretly had the idea for ages and I was going to suggest it too so it was a win-win situation in terms of deciding on a menu theme," recalled Newf, who left a long stint at Tapley’s to run the new restaurant.

"We had a great start with the Christmas rush but then mellowed out with the bad weather. Last month we picked up again and have maintained the pace ever since. We’re averaging about 80 people a night, five nights a week," he said.

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