The group behind one of Whistler’s most iconic restaurants has announced it will add a second resort location that will provide something “unique and different” to the fine dining scene.
More than 30 years after opening its first restaurant, Araxi, Toptable Group announced last week that it plans to expand in Whistler with a new restaurant in the former space of The Savage Beagle, located along the Village Stroll.
Araxi’s renowned executive chef James Walt will oversee the menu development and kitchen operation, offering what’s been touted as “a food and beverage experience not currently available in Whistler.”
The new location will be split between a downstairs space that will be used as a private dining area and may also include a prix fixe menu down the line, and an upstairs dining and bar area with seating for up to 40 guests.
Walt elaborated: “(The upstairs area) is what I’m excited about,” he said. “It will be different from Araxi’s and will be more — I don’t want to say casual — but there will be a lot of stools sitting along the bar and a kitchen element up there as well … The décor will be something we haven’t really seen in Whistler before.”
Walt was tightlipped about the menu, but said it will likely include house-made charcuterie that the kitchen crew at Araxi has been experimenting with recently. Good news for the late-night set as well, Walt said he expects the kitchen to serve food until 1 a.m., providing diners with “a kind of bar-like, small-plates experience.”
The still unnamed restaurant is expected to open in the summer of 2015.
It was also announced last week that restaurateur and Araxi founder Jack Evrensel is leaving the company. Evrensel sold Toptable’s five internationally acclaimed restaurants — CinCin, West, Blue Water Café and Thierry in Vancouver, as well as Araxi — to the Aquilini Group last year, but remained on as a consultant.
“This marks the end of a wonderful journey that started 33 years ago with the opening of Araxi, which I named for my wife,” Evrensel said in a release. “Toptable’s considerable success has been built by a legion of incredible individuals who are extremely talented, completely passionate and absolute team players. I also believe our industry has the most generous, hospitable people and for them the future is bright and the best is yet to come.”
Evrensel is considered one of the Godfather’s of Whistler’s restaurant scene, having opened one of the resort’s first eateries on Halloween night in 1981. Then a diner that catered to all of Whistler’s small but growing population, Araxi would eventually evolve into one of the country’s most renowned fine dining establishments.