Last summer Eater revealed nascent plans for Pearl’s BBQ, an upstart Austin-style outfit aiming to take up residence in the Arts District. Now just over one year later, it’s time for those early ideas to form into delicious reality.
Pearl’s BBQ is the work of Dana Blanchard, who has a hospitality background with the Voyager Hotel Group. He’d become rather obsessed with Central Texas-style barbecue (and is far from alone in that pursuit) by 2016, so he made the decision to find a slab of space at the southern edge of the Arts District to put an Airstream trailer, a smoker, and some seats.
Eater spoke at length with Blanchard about the project, which he says should be ready to roll by October 1. First there’s the rig being made by Fat Stack Smokers — the same outfit that kitted the likes of Moo’s Craft Barbecue and, before them, Trudy’s Underground BBQ.
As for the space, Blanchard says to expect an Airstream suitable for taking orders and dishing out plates. Seating takes place in an open industrial warehouse-like area, complete with string lights and loads of outdoor space. The idea is to make the property open and inviting like what is commonly found in Austin, where guests pull up to picnic tables after queueing up for their meats, then hang out drinking beer and even playing lawn games.
Some of those finer details are still being worked out between Pearl’s and the city of Los Angeles, but the plan is to be open by early fall. Blanchard’s unnamed pitmaster is already doing offsite brisket cooks in preparation for the opening.
In the meantime, Burt Bakman of Trudy’s Underground BBQ is inching closer to his own brick and mortar location along West Third Street (in partnership with the H.Wood Group) under the name Slab BBQ. Add in existing places from Bigmista’s in Long Beach to Barrel & Ashes in the Valley, plus the underground Instagram scene and the hinted promise of an eventual La Barbecue expansion, and suddenly LA’s lackluster barbecue game is looking much more robust.
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