Restaurant owner Bill Barlas calls his new venture meraki, a Greek word meaning putting yourself and your soul into whatever you’re doing.
Filosophi Wise Cuisine is set to open in mid-December, in time for the holiday season. The restaurant will open where Alexander’s Restaurant & Bar was previously located.
Barlas says that the restaurant’s prime location near the University of Saskatchewan is an important consideration for him. He wants the restaurant to be reflective of its neighbour.
“The university is the heartbeat of our city,” Barlas said. “We put the name Filosophi because philosophers come out of schools like the U of S.”
The philosophical atmosphere of the restaurant is reflected in Filosophi’s logo, an owl, and also in the cuisine itself, says Barlas.
“We are going to have a good cuisine, a wise cuisine,” Barlas said.
According to Filosophi’s website, the cuisine will be “a collection of culinary experiences,” using as many local ingredients as possible and “delivering authentic food made by genuine people.”
“Balancing the old with the new, time-honoured recipes with prairie fresh ingredients, the comforts of home with the vibe of the west coast. Filosophi is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before,” the website reads.
Barlas himself has been in the culinary industry for almost four decades in Saskatoon. He was previously the owner of Mano’s Restaurant & Lounge but sold his business about a year ago. He soon realized, however, that he could not sit at home for long.
“I love being with people. I love serving the community, and I love talking to people on a one-to-one basis,” Barlas said. “I’m a people person — I have to get out there and be with people.”
He hopes to engage with people through his new restaurant.
“I would like to greet, meet and talk to each and every person including our young people, our students that come from next door, the U of S,” Barlas said.
Although Barlas recognizes the challenges that the pandemic poses for the food industry, he believes that the solution lies in adapting and pushing ahead.
“We just have to adopt and learn new ways of doing business,” Barlas said.
Barlas is looking forward to opening the restaurant in a few weeks and hopes to see students on campus back in the fall.
“Hopefully we’ll put this behind us and I hope we all have a great and prosperous holiday season,” Barlas said.