133 North Limestone, previously home to Limestone Blue, has completely transformed into an Italian inspired joint serving wood-fired pizza in a hybrid Neapolitan style using their two-day cold fermented dough. “We had wanted to expand to another restaurant con- cept and when this space became available, it was perfect,” mentions co-owner Coleman Guyon “It was cost prohibitive to add a hot line in the basement so we decided to go for the idea that everything had to be cooked in the wood-fired oven and we evolved from there. It is a unique concept but it works.” And unique concepts are sort of their thing. Growing up in restaurants from the age of 15, Guyon spent years living in New York, LA and even Italy where he learned about the restaurant industry. After moving back to Lexington, he became aware of the voids the industry here has; “We aim to create concepts that fill that void. People in Lexington know the culture and want unique food and experiences,” says Guyon. “Our wine list, for example, doesn’t have common varietals such as pinot grigio or a cabernet but instead, we bring in varietals that are fantastic in their own right to introduce new things to our guests.” You’ll find natural and biodynamic wines such as Portelli Cal- abrese/Frappato Cerasuolo di Vittoria Sicily which they describe on the menu as “perfect pizza wine” something not seen here in Lexington. Their cocktail list is equally as unique using a variety of old-world Italian spirits such as Aperol, Campari and Vermouth to create cocktails such as the Daisy: a combination of brandy, Cointreau, lemon, bitters and soda or the Little Giuseppe: a mix of an artichoke-based bittersweet liqueur called “cynar”, sweet vermouth, lime and bitters. “Michael Florence, the beverage director for Middle Fork did our bar program and he did a fantastic job,” says Guyon. “Our Spritz is a classic but it’s not to be missed, it’s consistently one of my favorite things.”
In addition to the eight designed pizzas, they offer a build-your-own section with vegan and vegetarian options. “We have cultivated quite a vegan following because our chefs play with a lot of vegan-friendly ingredients and they’re good. It’s sort of natu- rally evolved. Our cashew ricotta and vegan Caesar dressing are popular with everyone who tries them!” says Guyon. “The charred broccoli salad is also a fan-favorite. County Club does a smoked French dressing for us that’s out-of-this-world,” shares Guyon. The dressing is tossed with a mix of bitter greens, red onion, raisins, Grana Padano cheese, sunflower seeds and of course, the charred broccoli. The wood-fired tinned sardines is another dish that’s unique to Lexington. “We throw the entire tin of sardines into the wood fire oven and slightly char them until the flavor is rich and smoky. They’re served with bright lemon, a pop of heat from chili flakes and Sunrise Bakery Sourdough.” On the menu, you’ll also find seasonal vegetables, composed salads, smoked whitefish, wood-fired shellfish, oysters, PEI mussels and gulf coast shrimp.
“In addition to great food and drinks, the thing I love most about this business is that I employ 75 people across three places and 100% are my friends. I think that’s what makes our restaurants so successful. I knew them before I hired them. I get to employ and help my friends make a living. The camaraderie of working together and making a service happen is amazing. It’s so much fun to see excited people who love their job,” says Guyon.
Open seven days a week, Pearl’s aims to have a relaxed cafe feel during the daytime and more romantic feel in the evening. “We try to cultivate a bit of a party for our late-night crowd as well,” states Guyon. “While we wanted to brighten the space a bit and open it up, most of our design was dependent on space and necessity.” Guyon says, “The building is full of natural elements from white painted brick, to metal shelves, a concrete bar top and wooden booths. It’s modern but still cozy.
And while Guyon describes the Limestone block as an up-and-coming location that’s quickly becoming a destination for diners, it’s obvious that Pearl’s is well worth the visit.
Mix it up a Daisey Cocktail:
2 oz Brandy 3⁄4 oz Cointreau 3⁄4 oz Lemon 1⁄4 oz Grenadine Sorrel Soda Collins Glass Lemon Twist
Mix the ingredients in a ice-filled shaker. Shake. Pour into a collins glass and garnish with a lemon twist.