For Ronald Canty, working as a chef on private yachts for the rich and famous off the coast of France might have been a life of luxury, but it wasn’t the best way to raise his newborn son. Six months after settling down in Perth – his wife’s hometown – Ron stumbled on a derelict corner store in Hamilton Hill and saw potential.
“When I took it onboard, there was nothing there but a pizza oven. We got the coffee machine in and built it from there, slowly adding to it all the time,” Ron says.
That store became Kerry Street Pear Tree, a café and woodfire pizzeria serving great coffee and pizza to the suburb of Hamilton Hill since 2017.
“We’ve adhered to good quality ingredients all the way through. We use organic flours, non-GMO, no single-use plastic, no vegetable oils, and we’re even making our own marshmallows,” Ron says.
“People have really identified with that approach. It’s a good following that’s just grown and stayed with us through COVID-19. We’re quite lucky that we’re almost back to normality, 200 people through the door per day for a suburban place is pretty good.”
The café serves Karvan Coffee, the specialty coffee brand of local café supplier Leaf Bean Machine. Ron says the training and service offered by Leaf Bean Machine has been crucial to Pear Tree’s success.
“Having Leaf Bean Machine in the same suburb, being able to send staff for training or have them drop in every time we need something, has been huge,” he says. “Our staff have become super confident thanks to the constant training, and I’ve got confidence too because if there’s something up, I just call them and they can come in and check it out.”
Pear Tree offers a variety of alternative milks and prepares its espressos with a self-dosing grinder, PuqPress tamper, and Wega Polaris espresso machine, which each barista on the team is confident to calibrate.
“We’re hitting our targets and our yields are spot on. Everyone making coffee is loving it,” Ron says. “The Puqpress was a gamechanger. We have three baristas working some mornings, and using the Puqpress means we’re getting consistency. The more experienced baristas have problems with [repetitive strain injury] from using a traditional tamper, so it’s good to be able to look after our staff too.”
While the coffee is important, the woodfires pizzas are the ‘hero’ of Pear Tree. During COVID-19, Ron expanded the café’s pizza business, now offering delivery of pizza bases and vacuum-sealed topped pizzas. In-store, Pear Tree gets creative with its recipes.
“We’ve got fresh truffles coming today, and for our special this weekend, we’ll be serving that with a stracchino cheese from Rose Valley, about 40 minutes from here,” Ron says. “We’ve been aging it since last week so it has just the right level of pound to it now.”
Another big drawcard at Pear Tree is its green way of thinking. The venue recently installed solar panels and offers compostable cups and bins. This compost returns to Pear Tree for use in its ‘pop-up forest’, a garden seating area covered in greenery.
“It’s become an urban greenspace and the local musos are happy to play their music there,” Ron says.
“It’s a really nice suburb and people tell us how happy they are to have ‘somewhere to go’ in walking distance. If we closed down, there’d be a big hole in the community that would be hard to fill.”
Kerry Street Pear Tree
1 Kerry Street, Hamilton Hill, Western Australia, 6163
Open seven days 6:30am to 12:30pm, Friday 5pm to 8pm