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Kelowna council gives Olympia Greek Taverna green light to rebuild year after fire

Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna was badly damaged by fire last night, Oct. 6, 2020.
Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna was badly damaged by fire last night, Oct. 6, 2020.

Last year, a popular Kelowna Greek restaurant burned down, devastating a neighbourhood community. Now, the restaurant is rising from the ashes with approval from city council.

The Olympia Greek Taverna, located on Highway 33 in Rutland, was destroyed by fire on Oct. 6 last year and this week a development variance was requested for the same location through city council for a new restaurant but this time with residential units.

READ MORE: Community rallies to support beloved Kelowna Greek restaurant destroyed by fire

City staff recommended council's support of the development variance and council unanimously agreed during its regular council meeting, Oct. 5.

Mike Koutsantonis, one of the owners of the restaurant, said it feels great to be met with approval. He’s hoping the restaurant will reopen at the end of June, 2022.

The Rutland restaurant first opened in 1996 but the Koutsantonis family has owned a Greek restaurant in Kelowna since 1968.

City councillors shared kind words with the Koutsantonis family during the meeting.

Coun. Maxine Dehart said she was “extremely happy” to support the application after the fire, adding she can't wait to see the finished project.

“Looking forward to the belly dancers and beer, so I’ll be an enthusiastic supporter,” Coun. Luke Stack said.

READ MORE: Popular Kelowna Greek restaurant destroyed by fire planning a comeback

“It was very exciting when they were talking about the restaurant and how they missed it,” Koutsantonis said.

The new Olympia Greek Taverna will have three two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment suites, according to plans submitted to the City of Kelowna.

A rendering for the new Olympia Greek Restaurant.
A rendering for the new Olympia Greek Restaurant.
Image Credit: City of Kelowna

There will be two dining areas, one on the main floor and another level dining experience complete with a rooftop terrace under a glass roof that will seat roughly 160 customers. The outward design of the restaurant would feature a terracotta roof, beige stucco and concrete block masonry.

The additional apartment suites will maximize the use of the property and provide income down the road, Koutsantonis said.

“We figured we had a clean slate, so this was the time to do it,” he said.

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