Prime rib and Gasthaus coffee have been traditions in Kimberley for 25 years, but that’s coming to an end as Peter and Annamaria Rathpoller have announced that the restaurant will close by the end of February.
“It’s time to retire,” said Peter. “This year has two anniversaries — 55 years in my trade and 25 years at the Gasthaus. It’s time.”
Peter says he is 99.9 per cent sure the restaurant will remain open until the end of the month.
“I’m finding that shutting down a business is almost more work than running one,” he said. “But we still have Valentine’s Day, the two long weekends, so there’s a lot to do.”
Peter has been cooking for 55 years, beginning as an apprentice in Austria, then gaining experience in Austria, Germany and Switzerland before moving to Kimberley with his wife Annamaria in 1988. He gained his Canadian citizenship in 1993, something he is very proud of.
Peter is a life member of the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association, a past member of the Calgary Chefs Academy and the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks, a past member of the advisory committee of the Cook Training program at the College of the Rockies, and is certified as hotel and Restaurant Manager by the government of Austria.
For the past several years, son Marc Rathpoller has worked alongside. He has now moved to a chef’s position in Cranbrook.
Friend and fellow Rotarian Arne Sahlen says that the Rathpoller’s retirement is a loss for Kimberley.
“For two and a half decades Peter and Annamaria Rathpoller have provided excellent cuisine, first-rate service and iconic ‘spirit of Kimberley’ care to their grateful patrons.
“Community events beyond counting have succeeded thanks to the food, food-service supplies, electrical service and more that spread out from 240 Spokane Street — carried out by the Rathpoller’s and their staff, or hauled out by volunteers allowed and welcomed to tramp in and out in any weather. The Gasthaus proprietors handed it all out willingly and cheerfully, with a focus not on gaining publicity but on eager service as community citizens.”
Peter and Annamaria have no solid plans for retirement, except to remain in Kimberley.
“We’ve had some great times here in Kimberley. It was fantastic. Annamaria and I must have done something right or we wouldn’t have been around so long.