One of Metro Vancouver’s top restaurants—and one of the best in Canada—is shutting down this month after 23 years in operation.
The PearTree Restaurant’s owners, Scott and Stephanie Jaeger, cited irreconcilable lease negotiations as the reason for the closure.
It’s a heart-breaking turn of events for the husband-and-wife team.
According to a statement, lease negotiations at the pair’s Burnaby Heights location (4120 East Hastings Street) had started long before COVID-19 hit. Among the insurmountable obstacles were a rent increase of more than 40 percent and the landlord’s insistence on a “demo clause” in year one of the lease.
The news is especially disappointing after the duo managed to keep the restaurant operating safely and successfully amid the pandemic.
“The last several months have been a challenge to say the least,” Stephanie said in the release. “The dedication and commitment from the staff have been unbelievable and with amazing customers and suppliers supporting take out and restricted dining, we brought July sales back to be on par with last year so to not be able to find a solution to the lease is very disappointing.”
It's a loss for the region’s dining scene—not only for diners seeking top-level food and service but also for aspiring cooks, with the team having mentored and trained many culinary talents over the years.
Chef Scott Jaeger trained under celebrated local chef Bruno Marti at La Belle Auberge Restaurant before being recruited by London’s Waldorf Hotel. He went on to work throughout France, Switzerland and Australia before returning home to the West Coast, where he met Stephanie, who also worked in Europe after getting her start at West Vancouver’s Beachside Café.
Featuring fresh, local, seasonal ingredients on the menu since day one, Scott has represented Canada at the Bocuse D’Or Culinary Competition in France and at the World Hospitality Championships, among other global events.
He’s a founding member and past president of the Chef’s Table Society of British Columbia, while Stephanie is past president of Les Dames Escoffier BC Chapter and is a former board member of Burnaby’s Empty Bowls, which works to alleviate hunger and poverty.
In 2018, the pair co-hosted a four-course dinner to raise funds for Coast Mental Health’s Culinary Skills Training Program.
Both have been individually inducted into the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association Restaurant Hall of Fame.
For the time being, the pair will be offering in-home catering, with hopes of finding a new home for their exceptional cuisine and meticulous, thoughtful approach to dining.
“In a perfect world the hope would have been to have some of the amazingly talented alumni return to cook on the stove and grace the dining room floor alongside the current team with guests from the last two decades enjoying a last Chefs menu,” Scott said in the release. “Sadly, this is not the environment for such celebrations.”
The safety of the staff and guests remain the pair’s top priority.
The PearTree Restaurant will be taking reservations until August 15.
Keep an eye on the website for details on how to book a private in-home function.