Danny Beck's long wait for a second restaurant won't be too much longer, as he's planning a soft opening on April 1 for Pearl's Southern Comfort in Edgewater.
Beck, a restaurant veteran who co-owns Toon's Bar & Grill on Southport Avenue, has spent two years planning his new restaurant at 5352 N. Broadway St. Beck attributed the opening delay to securing city permits. Chicago's Southern scene includes Big Jones, Analogue and Heaven on Seven, yet Beck believes there's plenty of room for his take on New Orleans- and Southern-style cuisine. He wants a more "funky and rowdy" atmosphere thanks to a craft cocktail program and a rooftop patio that will seat 30 to 40.
Inside, there's plenty of exposed brick, plus wooden floors, chandeliers, a handcrafted bar and seating for 80 to 90 people. There's also a smoker which will allow Beck to smoke some 250 pounds of meat at once. Beck's other restaurant, Toon's, is for a more sports-oriented crowd and has a small kitchen. The larger space at Pearl's will allow Beck and company to cut loose. He mentions menu items such as a savory crawfish cheesecake, seafood po'boys and New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp.
Pearl's is named after Beck's grandmother and his 7-year-old daughter, Olivia Pearl. Beck in 1996 helped opened the House of Blues in Chicago. His wife, Annie, also ran the Sunflour Bakery on Southport.
Beck sees how Big Jones and other restaurants have energized the area around Clark Street and Foster Avenue in Andersonville, and wants to do the same for the area near Pearl's. The restaurant site has been vacant for 14 years, Beck said.
"Our alderman [Harry Osterman] wants to get Broadway going as well," he added.