Chef Sean Huggard splits from Encore and Black Pearl, eyes SugarCube building

Sean Huggard, the former executive chef at Black Pearl (1529 South Pearl Street) and Encore (2550 East Colfax Avenue), hung up his whites on July 9, got hitched and is currently on his honeymoon. But he'll return in plenty of time to open his own place, Newport's, late this year or early next in the SugarCube building, one of several downtown parcels with enough vacant space to swallow a whole city.

According to Jeff Musat, GM at Encore and Black Pearl, Huggard is opening a contemporary American restaurant that'll serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. "I think it'll be similar to Encore with steaks, seafood, a raw bar and maybe some sushi, too," Musat told me.

And while July 9 may have been Huggard's official last day, Musat told me that Huggard began to pull back in October of last year. "He'd come in occasionally to bounce ideas around, but by and large, he was gone in October," which paved the way, said Musat, for Micah Watkins to take over the kitchen at Black Pearl and Paul Reilly, the former chef de cuisine at Encore, to handle the kitchen in that house.

"We're not changing concepts at either restaurant, and we're going to stay focused on what we do best, but we are very excited to let Micah and Paul take the reins and show us what they can do," said Musat.

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