The Pearl and The Boarding House restaurants - two landmarks of the island dining scene - remained dormant last summer after being sold by the Raynors in 2021, but their comeback is now getting underway.
Interior renovations at the restaurants have been ongoing for months, and on Wednesday, the new leadership team at the restaurant will be before the Select Board for a public hearing to request new restaurant, liquor, and entertainment licenses. The new owners, Blue Flag Partners, have hired Abby Ayre to be the restaurants' general manager. Ayre has been a familiar face in the island restaurant industry since 2019, serving as the general manager of The Nautilus and The Gaslight.
Here's what we know so far about the return of the two beloved restaurants:
- While there have been persistent rumors that The Pearl and The Boarding House were being converted into private dining clubs, Blue Flag Partners has confirmed that both restaurants will be open to the public.
- The establishments will remain as two distinct restaurants, operating under the previous names: The Pearl and The Boarding House.
- Assuming interior construction remains on schedule, the hope is for The Pearl to be open by Daffodil Weekend in late April, with The Boarding House opening slightly later for the Wine Festival weekend in mid-May.
- The Pearl will begin accepting reservations about a month before its opening, while The Boarding House will be open for walk-ins only.
- In addition to Ayre, the new team at The Pearl also includes Christina Peterson, who will be the restaurants' wine director. Peterson has most recently served as the general manager and sommelier at Via Mare on Broad Street.
- In terms of the licenses being sought for the The Pearl and The Boarding House at Wednesday's Select Board meeting, town licensing administrator Amy Baxter stated "the application before the Select Board seeks the same licenses and conditions applied to the former operator."
- According to the restaurant license application, "the restaurant will serve dinner nightly when open starting at 5:30 p.m. and until 11:00 p.m. The menu, influenced from Japanese and French cooking techniques, will include dishes prepared with raw seafood and oysters, local and farm grown vegetables, noodle and rice dishes, grilled meats and thoughtfully prepared seafood entrees with a light desert menu. We will not be offering take out, daytime food services or a late night food menu."
Among the longest-running restaurants on Nantucket, The Boarding House had been owned and operated by Angela and Seth Raynor since 1991. When Michael Molinar moved his flower business out of the building to Chestnut Street, the Raynors were able to expand and launched The Pearl in 1999.
In October 2021, the Raynors sold the property at 12 Federal Street and the businesses to Blue Flag Partners for $7.2 million. There were other suitors for the restaurants, Angela Raynor said at the time, but they had been in talks with Blue Flag for months, and have known members of its team for years. She expressed confidence that the company was the right choice to steward The Boarding House and The Pearl into the future.
“We’re acutely aware of how important these restaurants are to Nantucket and Nantucket culture, so we’re going to do our best to carry on this legacy and bring it into its next iteration while respecting the history and what everyone loves about The Pearl and The Boarding House,” Blue Flag co-founder Brad Guidi said at the time of the sale. “And we’re fully aware of that challenge, but also excited to thread that needle.”
Stay tuned for more about the reopening of The Pearl and The Boarding House in Wednesday's edition of Nantucket Current.