For the past 18 years, Katri Skogster has been the driving force behind the popular Nelson restaurant the Outer Clove.
But, after starting the business almost two decades ago, Skogster has decided to move on to different challenges.
Fortunately for local food connoisseurs, Iain Pardoe has decided to take over the establishment and continue the tradition of serving great food.
As the new owner, Pardoe said he doesn’t plan to make any major changes.
“I may make little tweaks here and there, but that’s all,” he said.
And he better not, or Skogster may have something to say about it.
The now former owner put a lot of sweat and love into the business.
“It was a lifelong dream to have my own restaurant,” explained Skogster.
But it almost didn’t happen. Originally her plan was to open a Mexican food place in Helsinki, Finland. But having travelled through Nelson, the community stuck in Skogster’s mind.
“At the time Finland was in a recession and economically it wasn’t viable to start a business there. So, Nelson called and I came in 1994.”
It took a few years for her to find the right location, but eventually the Outer Clove was born.
She said she focused on the use of garlic because it was such a common ingredient.
She decided to get out of the industry several years ago but has been waiting for the right opportunity to sell the business.
She now plans to take a trip and figure out what to do next.
Like Skogster, owning a restaurant has been a lifelong dream for Pardoe, a former university of Oregon professor turned restaurant owner.
A resident of Nelson for the past six years, Pardoe used to work at the Outer Clove and knew, one day he would like the chance to own the business.
“Of all the restaurants in Nelson, this is by far my favourite. It’s the one closest to my dream,” he explained.
Pardoe said it was good fortune that Skogster wanted to sell, when he wanted to buy.
“It’s just the right place at the right time.”
One of the reasons the Outer Clove became Pardoe’s first choice in Nelson is that he was impressed that “most of the food there is prepared from scratch, including the soups, burgers, sauces, salad dressings, desserts, and, of course, the famous aioli,” he said.
About to go it alone, Pardoe got some last minute advice from the former owner.
“Keep calm and garlic on,” joked Skogster.