The restaurant was opened five years ago by Iranian immigrant Reza Akbari. The restaurant notified the community through its Facebook page that December 31 was the last day of operations.
“Thank you, and goodbye, Prince George,” reads the post. “To all the wonderful people of Prince George and our northern BC communities, it is extremely sad and difficult for us to announce we have had to close our operation, Shiraz Café and Restaurant.
“For the past 5 years, this establishment has been the story of a dream that was transformed into reality. Much time and energy has been spent considering every possible option to avoid closing Shiraz, but I have been left with no available alternative.”
Akbari posted that he came to Canada as an international student who was forced to leave his motherland and dreamed of bringing something unique to the city. That something was Shiraz Cafe in the Parkwood Centre.
Akbari and the restaurant have received many accolades in the five years it was operational:
- Golden Cork Restaurant Challenge November 2013
- Top 40 under 40 2013 – official publication by Prince George Chamber of Commerce
- Business Excellence Award: The Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 Chamber of Commerce
- Certified as Excellent Restaurant, TripAdvisor 2014
- Business Excellence Award: The Business of the Year 2014 Chamber of Commerce
- Nominated as Top 5 Immigrant Entrepreneur in BC 2015 by Small Business BC Awards
- Certified as Excellent Restaurant, TripAdvisor 2015
- Business Excellence Award: The Business Person of the Year 2015 Chamber of Commerce
- Nominated for top 10 People’s Primary Choice in BC, Small Business BC Awards 2016
“I started this business with the hope of bringing positive change and adding color, vitality and value to the diversity of this community; we have contributed to the cultural diversity of this city by making our citizens fall in love with Persian flavour and hospitality; this passion and commitment has attracted guests from all over northern B.C.,” he posted. Since 2012, the Shiraz family and team achieved recognition in a multitude of ways. None these would have been possible without your support.
“The year 2018 is going to be a new start for my family and me, as well as all of our staff at Shiraz. Shiraz Café and Restaurant is a Canadian success story that shows that immigrants and newcomers can find success and make their own positive contribution in new, and even small, communities. There are many different definitions of success. For me, success is all about making positive impact in people’s life, and I think I achieved that during the 5 years of operating Shiraz.
“I will never forget any moment of it. Thank you, and goodbye, Prince George.”
The announcement has resulted in a flood of comments on social media from people who will miss the popular restaurant.