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Pearl’s BBQ Shut Down For Extended Period By LA Health Department

The open-air Arts District barbecue operator has run into a bit of trouble

Pearl’s BBQ
Pearl’s BBQ
Wonho Frank Lee

Looks like outdoor smoked meat operation Pearl’s BBQ is down for the count temporarily. The newcomer has been cited by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and forced to shutter until a few key issues are solved.

Checking the LA Public Health site today shows that Pearl’s has been offline since last Friday. That’s also when the restaurant posted a “closed for repairs” notice on their Instagram account, without announcing a relaunch date. The use of such vague language is common in the restaurant industry, even by longstanding places like Canter’s Deli. Asked by Eater for an ETA on reopening, owner Dana Blanchard said Sunday is likely, but has been quoting Monday or Tuesday online to those who ask.

The mandatory health department shutdown notes that they believe Pearl’s has been running “beyond the scope of operation/commissary agreement,” rather than, say, a water main break or vermin infestation. That could make the fix trickier for Blanchard and his team, particularly because he’s in the barbecue business.

Pearl’s BBQ
The offset smoker at Pearl’s BBQ

Offset smokers like the one shown off at Pearl’s (and in use at other underground places like Trudy’s and Moo’s Craft Barbecue) are technically banned in Los Angeles due mostly to air quality restrictions. That meant the restaurant’s on-site Airstream needed to be retrofitted to work as a standalone food truck in order to win approved permitting to even open in the first place. Now there’s a hiccup in the system somewhere, and no confirmed timeline for reopening, though it should be in the next few days.

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