Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar, a Westboro staple, announced yesterday that its doors were now closed, effective immediately. The restaurant had been in operation for 17 years, first on Wellington Street West then at a large former car dealership on Richmond Road. In a heartfelt goodbye message on Facebook, Juniper owners Norm Aitken and Peter Robblee announced that the decision to close was based on solely on economics. Patrons and fans of the restaurant are encouraged to post on the Juniper Facebook page to share their memories of the elegant dinners and fun social get-togethers they enjoyed at Juniper over the years.
Dear loyal customers, friends, family and suppliers,
We are writing to you today to share some sad news. After more than 17 years of operations, Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar has closed its doors. Our last dinner service was Saturday.
This news may come as sudden and unexpected to most of you. It was also emotional and difficult news to share with our staff. And, as owners of the establishment, we are heartbroken to have to close the business.
It’s no secret that running a restaurant is a tough business. It requires a lot of energy, creativity and a sense of adventure. Thankfully, we were able to count on a team of passionate professionals over the course of our 17 years in business who brought those qualities to their work every day. It was their unwavering commitment to create a memorable dining experience that made Juniper a special place.
Juniper is our livelihood and represents a standard for food and service in fine dining in Ottawa. The restaurant was also an engaged member of the community of Westboro, a place we call home.
Through our years of business, Juniper was fortunate to attract a loyal following that ensured our restaurant was always busy. Beyond just being guests, these people became friends who honoured us with their patronage and involved us in the important moments of their lives.
Our suppliers always served us well so we could serve our customers to the highest standard. From the local farmers & producers and the fishing community across the country, we thank you.
All of this made the decision to close especially difficult. Today’s announcement is driven solely by economics. The realities of running an independent fine dining restaurant are more challenging today than ever before. This is especially the case in neighborhoods like Westboro where real estate costs have risen dramatically in recent years. No matter how we looked at it, it was simply no longer viable for us to keep operating at the same standard of quality and remain profitable.
Right now our priority is our staff. We are working through our personal networks in the industry to ensure they will all find a home at one of the many excellent restaurants in Ottawa. We know their experience at Juniper will stand them in good stead. Together, they form one of the finest teams.
So, today is the end of an era for us personally and for many of our co-workers, loyal clients and many friends.
But every end, also marks a new beginning too. And each of us hopes that our future includes the same kind of magic we were fortunate enough to experience over the past 17 years.
We know many of you will be disappointed by today’s news. Still, we hope that you’ll also remember the many happy moments and memorable meals you shared at the restaurant over the years. The Juniper Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Juniper-Kitchen-Wine-Bar/99686805428) will remain active for the next two weeks. We encourage you to share your own personal stories. Your testimonials will help us remember the good and joyful times.
Norm and Peter