New Greek restaurant opens in Winter Park
It’s hard to deny that the Fraser Valley culinary scene is growing.
Winter Park boasts a fairly diverse portfolio of restaurants, and the man behind some of its more unique concepts is at it again.
Locals will know Fernan DeLeon from Winter Park Sushi Bar and Pepe Osaka’s, which he co-owns.
The two restaurants showcase DeLeon’s knack for cultural fusion and unique cuisine, and it’s difficult to pin down the myriad influences that go into each restaurant’s menu.
“I like fusing cuisines,” DeLeon said. “Being in the U.S., we’re a melting pot anyway, so it’s really natural that people start to mix flavors.”
Now, DeLeon and fellow restaurateur Charlie Alley are out to apply that philosophy – you might call it gastronomical pluralism – to Greek and Mediterranean fare in their new restaurant Opa, located in Park Place Shopping Center.
“You might even say that we’re Greek influenced,” Alley said.
Alley and DeLeon each have their own interests as restaurateurs.
“I love to eat,” DeLeon said. “I love food. I love cooking. It’s kind of the main thing. I love to cook and having different concepts has allowed me to explore different cuisines.”
Alley is more of the maître d’.
“I like to interact with the public, and I get a great sense of satisfaction out of someone telling me that they like the food,” Alley said. “I like to make people happy.”
The idea for Opa was born out of conversations between the two about owning restaurants.
As the former owner of a Greek restaurant, it’s Alley who brings the experience with Greek and Mediterranean cuisine to the table.
Coupled with DeLeon’s imagination, the menu is bound to stray from the ordinary.
Initially, Opa will serve lunch only, focusing on gyros cut straight from the kitchen’s vertical spit and sandwiches.
Once the restaurant gets its liquor license, it will expand into a full-service dinner joint as well.
“We want this to be a date place,” DeLeon said.
DeLeon said he’s especially looking forward to exploring Opa’s dinner specials.
“I’ve never really worked with lamb in the past, so I’m excited about having those specials,” he said.
The menu will include some classic Greek dishes like Saganaki, a flaming cheese appetizer, Alley said.
Once licensed, Opa’s bar will offer Greek beers and wines, as well as Ouzo cocktails.
There’s something to say about Opa’s interior design as well.
As Alley put it, “it’s classic Fernan.”
The white slabs and rich blue trim evoke the openness of the Greek Isles themselves, but DeLeon’s taken enough to care to make sure that Opa can still be a “sexy” evening dining spot like his other restaurants.
Opa is now open for lunch in Winter Park.
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