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iN VIDEO: Demolition of popular Kelowna Greek restaurant underway; owners plan to rebuild

Demolition work has started on the Olympia Greek Taverna, March 3, 2021.
Demolition work has started on the Olympia Greek Taverna, March 3, 2021.

Kelowna’s iconic Olympia Greek Taverna, which was destroyed by fire last fall, is being knocked down with the owners planning to rebuild.

In October 2020, a fire that started in the upper mechanical room of the restaurant on Highway 33 in Rutland caused extensive damage.

This week, demolition work began, which should be finished in two weeks, said co-owner Mike Koutsantonis.

READ MORE: Fire destroys Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna

“We’re just in the process of getting all of the architectural plans done, and then we’ll be off to the City for permits, and away we go,” he said.

The new building is expected to be in the same location. It will look different but will have a similar vibe.

Demolition work has started on the Olympia Greek Taverna, March 3, 2021.
Demolition work has started on the Olympia Greek Taverna, March 3, 2021.

If the stars and the planets align, he said, they hope to see the new restaurant open by next Christmas.

“It’s been sort of a waiting game, but I’ve had a chance to spend more time with grandkids and that, so that’s always a good thing,” Koutsantonis said.

He said it was "bittersweet" to see the restaurant go, but it's also exciting to see it enter a new stage.

Olympia has been in Kelowna since 1967. It was originally at a downtown location before moving to the Rutland location in 1973.

“We’ve made a lot of good friendships over time, we’ve made a lot of customers. There’s... now four generations of customers coming through,” Koutsantonis said.

After the fire, residents posted positive sticky-notes on the building's exterior, with messages saying the restaurant will be missed.

"It’s very humbling,” he said.

They may try some new menu items, but that is still in the works, Koutsantonis said.

“People’s favourites will still be there, we’ve talked about introducing some new stuff.”


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