The PearTree Restaurant, a highly acclaimed culinary landmark in Burnaby, B.C., is shutting its doors after 23 years.
While the onset of a pandemic paired with an already challenging Vancouver-area restaurant scene did not help matters, Scott Jaeger said the closure was months in the works.
Jaegar is co-owner alongside his wife, Stephanie Jaeger. Together, they achieved success with their Burnaby Heights restaurant, each one of them individually inducted into the BCRFA restaurant Hall of Fame.
"It's been amazing," Stephanie said.
"It's 23 years. People come for their first dates. You see them have their first baby. And now all of a sudden that baby is coming for dinner with a date."
The high cost of rent posed problems for the pair even before the pandemic forced restaurants to temporarily close, Scott said.
"The building has gotten older and changed and things become more expensive. Our rent increase is quite high ... and we're not really finding a solution," he said.
"This hasn't happened overnight. It's been the last kind of year and a half has been building to this, negotiating and knowing that it wasn't going well."
For now, the pair say they are hearing from staff, both past and present, reminiscing on the restaurant's history.
"A lot of cooks have called this home and they've trained here and learned here and you know, it's a special place," Scott said.
"We've certainly had a lot of past staff reach out in the last few days as well just to say what this has meant to them," said Stephanie.
The couple says they're not sure of their future plans, especially given the current conditions, but they won't be straying far from the culinary scene.
"We're still looking for that next location and project and transition into what we do," Scott said.