Black Pearl closed at 1529 South Pearl last summer, leaving a note on its website that read: "In partnership with friends, neighbors, and our fellow local restaurateur, we have an exciting new concept for our location." Just down the street, Gaia Bistro's days were numbered; the cottage-turned-eatery had been purchased by developers who have plans to redevelop the property. With Gaia looking for a new home and Black Pearl vacant, an appropriate solution for the Platt Park neighborhood has been found: Today, Yardbird opened in the Black Pearl space, serving Gaia menu items for breakfast and lunch, with new dinner items that offer small-town, Midwestern appeal.
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Gaia is the product of Patrick Mangold-White (the "fellow local restaurateur" in this scenario), who also runs Kaos Pizzeria and Uno Mas Taqueria on the same stretch of Old South Pearl Street. In 2014, Mangold-White told Westword that his "long-term plan is to do a chicken concept." Whether or not Yardbird is the result of that early planning, there's definitely chicken on the new menu, in the form of buttermilk-sage fried chicken, chicken-fried chicken and chicken pot pie. Other homey specialties include mac ’n' cheese au gratin, meatloaf, shrimp and grits, and a Thanksgiving dinner plate complete with turkey breast, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and spinach cream.
A long roster of breakfast dishes, from Gaia's croissant egg sandwich to a quartet of Benedicts, are being served all day, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Now South Pearl can have its Gaia and eat it, too.