Inside, its a Spaghetti Western part Wild West, part Italian-American. Clint Eastwood glares and grits his teeth at you from posters on the walls, challenging you to finish everything on your plate. Cmon, sissy. Get it in you.
Its not easy. Like The Good The Bad And The Ugly or Lone Plain Drifter, theres a lot of cheese to get through. Thats not necessarily a bad thing when youre talking about a deep dish pizza restaurant.
More specifically, an authentic Western barbecue chicken and ribs and Chicago-style deep dish pizza place.
Tex Corleones has only been open since the American thanksgiving and part-owner and operator Scott Young has already received the ultimate compliment. "Right after we opened, a group from Chicago came in and they told us that it was the best Chicago deep dish they have ever tasted, which is pretty cool. We were going for authentic, but it seems we went a little beyond that."
In order to serve the best pies possible, Young made two pilgrimages to Chicago, the birthplace of deep dish pizza and former headquarters of the mob. Hence the name Corleones. He also made it a point to visit other American pizza hotbeds, like Seattle and New York, to round out his research.
"The one thing you cant get in Whistler is a great deep dish pizza," says Young. "I think weve created the most unique pizza that Whistler has ever seen."
The three-quarter inch deep crust is more like bread dough, he says light, baked hard on the outside and served still a little bit soft on the inside under a heap of toppings. One large will feed three people.
To make sure Tex Corleones ribs were completely authentic (we get a lot of American tourists wholl know the difference), Young visited Kansas City, Missouri, the epicentre of the pork and beef rib universe. "This city is world famous for its ribs, like Italy would be famous for its pasta."
Chef Jordan White brings an added dimension to the barbecue chicken and ribs after attending a two-day seminar on smoked food this summer, led by Americas foremost barbecue expert.
"These racks are huge. We havent had one person in here yet who has finished the whole rack of ribs," says Young. "Were looking for that person."
Getting the picture yet?
When the space in the Crystal Lodge was first offered, Young and his partner Joe Kovacs went head to head with the White Spot restaurant chain to pitch an idea for an authentic American restaurant. They won with the best concept, and for the past three months have overseen building renovations, staff hiring, supplier hiring even the final beer selection.