Main Street Eats - Casual Dining off the Stroll
A street in Whistler, slightly off the beaten path, is home to a mouthwatering smorgasbord of international cuisines. This foodie heaven is called Main Street, and within steps of each other, you can opt for Italian, Mexican, Australian, Asian and North American fare. From succulent chicken parmigiana to fragrant pad thai, from meat pies with golden crusts to flavour-packed beef pasilla tacos, from juicy pulled pork to over-the-top sandwiches, it’s hard to know which one to go for. But when there are no bad choices, everyone’s a winner.
The Main Street food options are casual. They don’t take reservations, they have small dine-in areas, quick counter service, grab-and-go options and with some you can order online, get delivery and arrange catering. The restaurants are mostly locally owned and operated, and you’ll find a dedication to locally sourced and fresh ingredients, secret recipes that were lovingly developed, and a passion for good food and great service.
With the street’s close proximity to Whistler Olympic Plaza, you can enjoy your meal on the lush grass, grab a picnic table, or recline in one of the brightly painted deck chairs, or pack your chosen fare into your backpack or bike bag and head to one of Whistler’s many lakes or parks.
It’s always a good sign when the locals eat at a place; what’s even better is when the staff can be seen frequenting the places surrounding them, and this is exactly what you’ll find on Main Street. This area is also a favourite among families given the variety of options and the fast and friendly service. If you’re grabbing food to go from Main Street there’s pay parking directly on the street (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), or you can park at the larger Marketplace lot and select the free one-hour parking option while you dash in to grab your food.
Tucked at one end of Main Street, this is a funky option with communal bench seating, craft beers lining the bar, and a menu that will please meat eaters and vegetarians alike. The Dippy Do Dat Beef Brisket Sammy, Pemberton Bowl, and Smoked Steelhead Chowder are firm favourites with the locals. The portions are generous, masterfully prepared, and the service is quick.
With its spacious room and large tables, this is a great option for large groups. Hunter Gather is family friendly and they have high chairs for little nibblers. Order at the counter, or use their online service where you can opt to dine in, pick up or have your food delivered. Download their app for use even when you’re seated right at the table, or use the order kiosk a the entrance to skip any queues.
“Many of the eateries on Main Street are locally owned and managed,” said Hilarie Cousar, vice president of Whistler Cooks and Hunter Gather. “This is why passion and ‘local personality’ is so present. We are so proud to be a part of the Main Street community.” huntergatherwhistler.com
Hola! The menu at this taste of Mexico in the mountains packs authentic flavours. La Cantina is a popular place to grab a trio of tacos or a gigantic burrito served with fresh, house-made salsa. Choose from chicken, beef, pork, fish and veggies in a myriad of different marinades and spices, prepared from scratch by Mexican chefs using key ingredients imported from Mexico. And if you’re eating in, why not go all out and add a slushy lime margarita to the mix?
With your choice of tacos, burritos, bowls, quesadillas and wraps, there are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options available. Grab a to-go box and a refreshing Jarritos Mexican pop, and you can take that fiesta party feeling to the park or lake.
“It’s important for Whistler to have a food hub like this with affordable eats that appeal to so many different groups of people,” said Pepe Barajas, president and CEO of Infinity Enterprises Group. “It’s exciting to be a part of this food scene and having so many awesome competitors near us, as it keeps us innovating.” tacoslacantina.ca
Owned by an Aussie/Canadian team, these pies bring an authentic taste of Australia to Whistler and have been enthusiastically welcomed by the many Aussies who have come to the resort and stayed. Peaked Pies is also a delight to the many Australian visitors, who are happy to find a taste of home. They have been lovingly perfected and the fillings specifically chosen to please those from both the northern and southern hemispheres. When you order your pie “peaked,” your choice will be topped with mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and smothered in rich gravy (which is actually vegetarian). They have both meat (look out for the “Hopper” … yes, kangaroo) and veggie options, as well as Aussie-style sweet treats and artisan coffees.
If it’s busy at the counter, they have a self-serve kiosk, and if you’re thinking a pie at the plaza is the way to go, they’ll pack it to-go in a compostable container. FYI: If you don’t have your pie “peaked,” then ditch the knife and fork as it’s Aussie etiquette to eat it with your hands.
“When we thought about opening our pie shop we dreamed of a Main Street location,” said Kerri Jones, co-founder and owner. “It meant we would be next to some of the long-term, local food legends like Pasta Lupino and Splitz Grill. We’re now in our fifth year and hoping we’re earning that kind of reputation ourselves.” peakedpies.com
This cozy Italian eatery is a local gem. When you walk in, you can smell the spices, tomatoes, roasting peppers and fresh basil that go into their rich pasta sauces, lasagna and pizza toppings. Their pastas are made fresh every day, and if you’re torn between the sauce choices, a local’s tip is to combine the alfredo with the plum tomato and basil to create a “rosé.”
Pasta Lupino has a pick-up, take-out menu or if you wanted to recreate a little Italian flair at home, they have a deli selection where you can grab a bag of pasta, sauces, sausage and pizza dough ready to be rolled. The quick service makes them a great option for a short lunch break, and if you need to dash, they give you compostable, microwavable containers so you can reheat your lasagne back at home base or in the office.
“Being a part of lower Main Street is very special,” said Manager Mary Ward. “It’s a hidden corner of town where you can feed yourself without breaking the bank. We are a little community that supports each other, and we all have something very different to offer.” pastalupino.com
The Corner Deli
The sandwich is the quintessential on-the-go food item, and this quaint locale does them New York deli-style — except when they go all Montreal with their stacked, smoked meat option. These are not your school lunchbox sammies. In fact, they probably wouldn’t fit in a typical lunchbox. The team at The Corner Deli is not shy on the fillings, and they pack these in between freshly baked bread and slather on the house-made sauces.
If you’ve got a large family or group, consider ordering over the phone and getting them wrapped to go. Stick them in your backpack and cruise to Lost Lake where you can go hiking, biking, or swimming to work up an appetite needed for one of these sandwiches. They also have salads, soups, vegan and gluten-free options.
“Our whole goal is to feed the workers and visitors of Whistler great, fresh food that’s fast and delicious,” said Owner Jeremy Poyntz. “This fits in perfectly with the Main Street food vibe. Nowhere else in Whistler can you get to by car or by foot, that has ample parking and so many food choices.” thecornerdeli.ca
Main Street Noodles
It couldn’t be easier to get your noodle fix than at Main St. Noodles, with the ability to pop in, and the convenience to order online or use their handy app to pre-order your pad thai. Select the flavour you’re after, add a protein, and select your spice tolerance with a few taps and skip those procrastinating menu browsers. Their recognizable white take-out boxes are packed with Asian flavours from black bean teriyaki to satay to hoisin. This is a quick, tasty and affordable choice. The portions are generous, so consider getting a selection and sharing, family style.
Open until midnight, seven days a week; they offer $3 delivery anywhere in Whistler from 5 p.m until midnight, making it a great dinner-in or après option.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the Main Street community and work alongside some amazing restaurateurs,” said Manager Alex Kingston. “It’s also great to see many of the employees on Main Street taking each other up on staff meal swaps on a daily basis, and building solid relationships between the businesses.” mainstnoodles.com