An East Valley couple have turned their Perfect Pear into three of a kind.
Chris and Laura Hove this week opened their third Perfect Pear Bistro at 603 W. University Drive, Tempe. It joins bistros they own at 9845 Priest Road at Ray Road, Tempe; and their original establishment at 1241 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee.
Perfect Pear Bistro boasts of serving "fresh, local ingredients" in a "warm, inviting atmosphere."
Its fare "puts a modern American twist on comfort" with fresh salads, sandwiches, grilled cheeses, soups, taco and pasta dishes accompanied by "a rotating list of craft beers, red and white wines by the glass, and creative specialty cocktails," Chris Hove said.
"We are so excited to bring our concept to this neighborhood," said Hove. "Our amazing guests and staff at our two existing locations made us eager to grow."
Added Laura: "We're so grateful that our community has been so supportive, therefore allowing us to continue to expand throughout the Valley."
Between them, the Howes have helped open more than 30 restaurants across the country.
They finally opened their own concept in 2013 at Desert Foothills Parkway and Chandler Boulevard in Ahwatukee. A year later, the second location opened at Priest and Ray in Tempe.
Married for 12 years and the parents of a boy and a girl, the Howes met at a Pei Wei Asian Diner outlet that they opened.
Laura, a Santa Cruz, California, native graduated from Desert Vista High School while her Iowa-born husband graduated from Corona del Sol High.
Chris calls himself a "Food Network-trained chef," although he has been cooking since he was 10 years old and confesses to having "a general passion of the art of cooking."
"We both started our careers as employees of several restaurants when we were 16 years old. We have open over 30 restaurants for different restaurant chains over the years. We have had several great mentors who have taught us the business."
He said the rapid expansion of Perfect Pear stems from the fact that "the community has embraced us as a staple in the Foothills."
Inspired by their early success, they opened the Ray-Priest roads bistro "to position ourselves in a higher-traffic location."
"We had a great opportunity to open in South Tempe and build on our success of the first location because it is just on the other side of the freeway," he added. "We have a lot of guests that frequent both locations or work near our Tempe location."
While he believes "we have been very fortunate to have such a great following," he and Laura don't intend to rush their hopes of opening even more bistros.
"We always take one at a time," he said. "However, we always look into the future to decide how we can best position ourselves as a brand and grow as a business. We have future locations in mind. We would love to open in Ocotillo or Central Phoenix."
Howe referred to a fortune cookie saying in explaining how he and Laura have succeeded in a highly competitive industry.
"My favorite fortune cookie saying is 'Luck is what happens when opportunity meets hard work.' In short, this is true."
In addition to "quality, service, organization and cleanliness," he added: "throw in some tasty food and have fun."
Employers of about 50 people at all three restaurants, the Howes have made many changes to their original vision for Perfect Pear.
Besides changing their menu to incorporate seasonal flavors about every six months, he said, "We also try to support as many local businesses along the way. Our aim was to not close down. You could say failure was not an option and we really did not have a back-up plan."
And they don't sit around and let the staff do the work.
"We are still very hands-on managing everything from day-to-day operations," Chris said. "We, as many business owners, wear many hats. We develop all of our menu items, market and play general handyman."
Still, he added, "We have learned to surround ourselves with great people and trust that they will make great decisions."
Chris said he and his wife consider the new addition to their brand "a very exciting location for us."
"The Arizona State University location has a huge potential," he said. "This location has an amazing patio and has a different feel to it."
He added, "The walls lined with reclaimed wood and unfinished flooring have an urban look to it."
The Howes plan to roll out a new menu in a month or so and it will feature a new menu section of quinoa bowls.
"We feel this is a great fit to our current offerings and see it as a natural evolution of our healthy options," he said.