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A St. Paul Chef Dreams of Savannah With New Stillwater Restaurant

Justin Sutherland will open Pearl & the Thief in May

Justin Sutherland inside Handsome Hog
Photo courtesy of Justin Sutherland

The executive chef of Lowertown’s Handsome Hog is getting ready to open his second restaurant, Pearl & the Thief at 112 North Main Street in downtown Stillwater. Justin Sutherland tells Mpls/St.Paul Magazine that the new eatery will be ground zero for oysters and whiskey with food cooked from his family’s Southern roots.

Inside, the restaurant will feel like a bit of Savannah plantation, bold with white and black antebellum elegance. Food will include étouffé, Gulf shrimp, giant sacks of oysters and a serious ribeye that will be prepared with all the modern gadgets: there’s a state of the art smoker and a circulator in the kitchen. Hospitality will take a cue from Big Mama. Sutherland remembers his grandmother in Mississippi grandmother who would make traditional Sunday suppers, whom everybody called Big Mama regardless of relation.

Sutherland has won rave reviews for Handsome Hog by taking Southern, barbecue-style classics and giving them a little nudge into the modern age.

The chef rose through the ranks as a line cook at Meritage, sous chef at Brasserie Zentral before opening Handsome Hog as executive chef and has fast proved himself one to watch locally.

With the new business comes new partnerships. Pearl & the Thief ownership will include Handsome Hog general manager Joseph Pirri and the guys behind Stillwater’s phenom LOLO’s American Kitchen, Joe Ehlenz and Brad Nordeen.

Pearl & the Thief

112 N. Main St, Stillwater, MN