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Zeuski’s goes Mediterranean



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"We’re practising signature entrees daily at the moment in preparation, gauging people’s reactions to them to see what’s popular," said Park.

Greek fans don’t need to worry though – the staple foods and ouzo offerings will remain.

"I think people in general are moving away from heavy foods and Greek dishes like souvlaki and moussaka can typically be categorized as filling. These days people like to dine light and they are much more health conscious in terms of what goes into their dishes. So we’ve added a lot more seafood and vegetable-laden offerings," said Park.

The full eight-point rack of New Zealand lamb is still Zeuski’s signature dish, closely followed by the B.C. salmon – not exactly Mediterranean fare, but popular all the same when it comes to Whistler’s tourist trade. The calamari also walks out the door, whether it’s pan seared or deep fried the traditional way, demand is through the roof.

The wine list has also had a clean up. Bottle prices have dropped considerably in an effort to encourage more locals to the table.

"We wanted to increase the value for people who live here and it’s the wine lists in a lot of the restaurants here that keep locals away," said Park.

"The tourists are great but it’s the locals who are the ones that keep you going. They are here all year and they are your guests in the quiet times. They know what you’re serving and if you’ve got a $30 bottle of wine on the list that’s $10 in the liquor store, a local is going to see straight through it and go somewhere else."

Zeuski’s sits in the centre of a public square neighboured by the Spanish-influenced Caramba! restaurant and the French fine dining denizen Val d’ Isere. I ask Park how they are dealing with Zeuski’s Mediterranean move.

"There’s no question there’s some friendly rivalry out here among us but at the end of the day I think we all complement each other. We all offer different price points, different dishes and different settings, even though we represent the same geographic location – which I guess just proves what a huge range you can offer being Mediterranean influenced," said Park.

No doubt Zeuski’s has an advantage with their full views of Blackcomb Mountain and a large patio with year-round ceiling heaters, instant rain covers and a very cute outdoor bar area. But the restaurants "over the bridge" stick together all the same.

"Everyone told me us we were crazy to come over this side of town," said Grills. "Originally Zeuski’s was in the Delta at the base of Whistler but in ’96 we thought we’d move."