After 23 years, City of Richmond cancels beloved Pajo’s fish and chips outlet at busy Steveston spot
A decision by the Richmond park board to not renew the lease of a fish and chips shop at Garry Point Park in Steveston has devastated the owners and longtime manager and disappointed some loyal customers.
Pajo’s Fish and Chips has run the takeout window where the Pacific Ocean and the Fraser River meet since the city built the building 23 years ago. Now owners Kevin and Tara Elston have to close on March 31 after losing a formal bid called a request for proposal to a competitor.
“Maybe people will assume it (the lease) went to the highest bidder, but it wasn’t about that, the rent was set,” said Tara Elston, who decades ago took over Pajo’s, which is named after the founders, her mother, Pat, and Pat’s friend, Joan. She runs it and three other Pajo’s, including one on Steveston’s wharf, with husband Kevin.
She said the request was judged on the menu and the bidder’s experience, approach and whether or not the business was sustainable and “economically circular,” with each of the categories carrying different weightings.
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