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Nights expected to be busy during Olympics

Several restaurant owners anticipate business around the clock in February

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What will Whistler Village look like in the middle of the night during the Olympics?

While many businesses owners are still finalizing their plans for February 2010, at least one thing is certain: more restaurants than usual will be open around-the-clock to serve the 55,000-or-so people who will be in the resort municipality every night.

Take The Aubergine Grille restaurant in The Westin Resort & Spa, for example.

Bryce Beatty, the Westin's director of operations, explained his hotel wants to keep their restaurant open 24 hours a day during the Olympics to accommodate all their international guests, which including media personnel who need to shoot live broadcasts in the middle of the night.

"As a hotel, we need to be completely flexible," said Beatty.

"If XYZ from Norway says, 'We want to do a broadcast at 4 a.m. in the morning,' and they have a crew that they would like to give food and drink to afterwards, as a hotel, we don't want to say no," said Beatty.

On a typical day, The Aubergine Grille is open until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Beatty said the extra hours are to serve people who are working, not partying, during the Games.

Over in the Upper Village, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler's director of food and beverage is contemplating a similar plan.

Gerard Mauvis said he wants to keep Portobello restaurant open 24 hours a day during the Winter Games, since he knows from past Olympics that people tend to eat later on.

"You will have so many broadcasters and people like that working into the late hours," said Mauvis about why he is changing the closing hours for Portobello from the usual 5 p.m. close. "There is a demand for late night dining."

And Saeed Borhanjoo, co-owner of Bread Garden Whistler, also wants to keep his restaurant's doors open through the night during the Games.

"It is the Olympics, and a lot of people will be here," said Borhanjoo.

As the municipality's bylaws currently sit, restaurants and stores can stay open as long as they wish if they are not selling liquor. (Whistler's council is still finalizing how late restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can sell alcohol during the Games. See related story on Page X.)

Meanwhile, some restaurants in Whistler who aren't planning on keeping their doors open around-the-clock during the Games are still planning to increase the hours they are open.

Managers for La Brasserie Des Artists, for example, are planning to have their Village Square restaurant open about 20 hours a day during the Games, from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.

"I think there is going to be a niche for early mornings," said Brenton Smith, general manager of La Brasserie's parent company, O & R Entertainment.

"With an event of this size, you can pretty much guarantee there will be people still up celebrating at this time, looking for something to eat, as well as people getting up on their way to an event."

Also, some retail stores are reworking their timetables to stay open later than usual during the Winter Games.

"I think we are going to be open to midnight at least on the days there is something going on at Celebration Plaza," said Kennedy Raine, owner of the Great Glass Elevator Candy Shop, located by Marketplace and Celebration Plaza.

"Really it would be silly not to be open late when there are going to be 3,000 people outside my door."

Sandy Black, owner of the largest group of independent rental hopes in Whistler, Affinity Sports, also said he wants to have his stores open later during the Games.

 

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