The Ritter sisters make a dynamic culinary team. Jessica is a graduate of Boston University’s Culinary Arts Program. She trained with such culinary icons as Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. Chef Jessica hones her talents in the kitchen creating flavorful, seasonally-inspired menus for both the restaurant and catering. Cecilia’s career in the hospitality industry spans from Front of the House Management to recipe development & creative design. She oversees the daily business operations, management of the hospitality team, & when time allows, she is responsible for the many fresh floral creations that abound in the dining room. Together they have been serving Salem and the surrounding Willamette Valley through their restaurant and extensive catering operation since January of 2000. Whether enjoying a meal in their historic downtown building or at a catered event at another location, the customer can always be assured of the Wild Pear experience with an emphasis on quality food, service, & environment. From Northwest regional cuisine to heritage inspired dishes, the Wild Pear takes pride in using local seasonal ingredients in their familiar yet unexpected recipes that reflect their diverse cultural background.
Cecilia and Jessica also have a knack for taking neglected properties & giving them new life. Both women have an eye for detail and design and it shows in all areas of their work. The sisters’ first entrepreneurial venture into the hospitality industry began back in 2000 when they conceived of and opened Wild Pear Restaurant & Catering. Originally, the business was located in the circa 1900 Roberts General Store on River Road. In 2004, they opened their second location in the historically registered 1880 Adolph Block Building on State Street in downtown Salem. Currently, the Downtown Restaurant is their only location. Its historic quality lends itself to a beautifully designed dining room & reflects their enthusiasm and passion for what they do. In 2013, Cecilia partnered with her husband, Chef Jeff James, to add another addition to the dining scene in Salem. Together they opened an American neighborhood restaurant, ACME Café in south Salem. The couple extensively restored a 1950’s service station to house their neighborhood restaurant, which they sold in March of 2020. In 2016, the sisters along with their brother, Mike Ritter, jumped at the chance to expand yet another culinary option in Salem when the historic McGilchrist & Roth building, located across the street from Wild Pear, became available after an extensive restoration process. Thus, Ritter’s Housemade Foods was born, an amazing lunch & dinner spot with an expansive bar. Ritter’s, the family namesake restaurant, is now owned and operated by Jessica & Mike Ritter.