Chef Justin Sutherland to reopen Pearl & the Thief in downtown Minneapolis

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Chef Justin Sutherland is finally bringing back Pearl & the Thief, his restaurant that briefly operated in Stillwater.

The new version of Pearl & the Thief, a restaurant focusing on seafood and southern fare, will be in the Mill District of downtown Minneapolis in the O2 Luxury Tower at 250 Portland Ave.

Sutherland is partnering with Sherman Associates, the owners of the building, and Restore Restaurant Holdings, featuring chef Vincent Francoual. The two chefs will jointly curate the menu, which will include former favorites like Tennessee hot octopus and crab risotto, but will also feature new recipes that Sutherland has been collecting during his world travels. Additionally, the restaurant will feature a high-end whiskey bar and craft cocktails.

Smoked crab risotto from the Pearl and the Thief pop-up, pictured in September 2020. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

“I am beyond excited to partner with Restore Restaurant Holdings and Sherman Associates to bring Pearl & the Thief back to life in Minneapolis. It is hands down my favorite concept I’ve created, and I have been patiently waiting for the right time, location, and partners to make it a reality once again,” Sutherland said in a news release. “I am especially excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Chef Vincent who is a staple and visionary in the Twin Cities dining scene. … After spending the last few years traveling and cooking alongside some of the greatest chefs in the world I have been truly inspired and can’t wait to get back to leading a kitchen.”

O2 will also feature the third location of Big E, Sutherland’s egg-sandwich-focused restaurant. The two spaces will take up about 5,000 square feet and an additional 2,000 square feet of outdoor patio space on the corner of Washington and Portland avenues.

The restaurants are shooting for a fall 2024 opening.

Sutherland is a television celebrity at this point, competing on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” serving as co-host of TruTv’s syndicated “Fast Foodies,” and winning “Iron Chef America” among many other appearances. Besides the other two locations of Big E, he also operates Northern Soul locations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and The Preserve at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, and has recently announced that he will lead the culinary operations at Golden Thyme Coffee and Cafe in St. Paul.

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