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Southside Diner staying put

April Fools' gag leads to outpouring of support for iconic Whistler eatery



The building housing Whistler landmark Southside Diner was sold to new owners last month, but contrary to a radio interview with restaurant owner Dave Keen, the Creekside eatery isn't shutting its doors just yet.

Keen appeared on Whistler FM host Chris Quinlan's radio show the morning before April Fools' Day to report that, with new owners, the local institution might be closing shop after 10 years in business. While the building housing the restaurant, as well as the Southside Lodge hostel, was in fact sold to new owners recently, Keen said they have no intention of shuttering one of the community's most beloved casual diners.

Longtime building owners Herschel Miedzygorzki and Cal Schacter, who ran the Southside Deli for over 20 years until it was resurrected as the Southside Diner in 2004, sold the building in February, according to Keen. Southside Lodge owner Max Buhler and his business partner are the new landlords, and are "completely satisfied with us as tenants," Keen said.

The post announcing the possible closure on social media ignited the resort, drawing 19,000 impressions on Whistler FM's Facebook page. Quinlan, who was in on the joke, said it sparked a worthwhile discussion in the community.

"We knew it would get some attention," he said. "I was really impressed by the conversation it started about the need and value of local institutions like the Southside.

"It was really a great opportunity to have a little fun without anyone getting hurt."

Keen was moved by the support from residents lamenting the possible loss of a favourite locals' hangout.

"The outpouring of attention and really kind things that were said about us as a business was kind of amazing," he said.