Wild Pear Restaurant & Catering was the first entrepreneurial venture of the Ritter sisters, the original “wild pair.” Cecilia and Jessica Ritter opened Wild Pear Restaurant & Catering in 2000, blending their individual talents and expertise in the hospitality industry together to create the now iconic eatery and premier catering company in the city of Salem and surrounding Willamette Valley. Jessica, a graduate of Boston University’s Culinary Arts Program had the opportunity to train with culinary icons like Julia Child and Jacques Pepin and honed her talents in the kitchen creating flavorful, seasonally-inspired menus for both the restaurant and catering. Jessica blazed trails for the many young chefs to-be she mentored and collaborated with Cecilia among them, their greatest joy cooking alongside each other. Cecilia brought expertise in hospitality management, creative design, and chief recipe tester to Jessica's new creations, her fondest role to round out their collective talents. Together, they established Wild Pear Restaurant and Catering as the first of several successful eateries in Salem, preceding ACME Café, founded by Cecilia and Chef Jeff James which they sold in 2020, and Ritter’s Housemade Foods, the family namesake restaurant founded by the Ritter sisters together with their brother, Mike Ritter in 2016 (now owned/operated by Mike Ritter).
Whether enjoying a meal in Wild Pear’s historic downtown location or at a catered event elsewhere, you can always be assured of the Wild Pear experience of quality food, service, & environment. From Northwest regional cuisine to heritage inspired dishes, Wild Pear takes pride in using local seasonal ingredients in their familiar, yet unexpected dishes that reflect the diverse cultural background of the founders.
Following Jessica Ritter’s passing in September 2020 and the coinciding pandemic that drastically effected the hospitality industry, Cecilia Ritter is committed to carrying on what she and her beloved sister began decades ago—a legacy of family and community around tables full of quality food, made with care, and served with gratitude—in other words, superb hospitality from Wild Pear Restaurant and Catering. A memorial fund has been established in Jessica's name to carry on the benevolent work she and Cecilia started through their charitable contributions made through Wild Pear. The Jessica Ritter Memorial Fund is ran through the Salem Foundation, a 501c non profit. Local charities are chosen quarterly to be the recipients of her fund which can be found highlighted in the restaurant. Contributions can be made online using the button below.