New restaurant Lillie Pearl to fill former Pasture space on Grace

Kimberly Love-Lindsey and Mike Lindsey.

After helping run one of the bigger restaurant groups in town, Mike Lindsey and Kimberly Love-Lindsey are stepping out on their own.

The married couple is preparing to open Lillie Pearl at 416 E. Grace St. downtown, in the space most recently home to the short-lived Pink Flamingo taqueria. Before that it housed the Pasture restaurant.

For the last four years Lindsey has been the executive chef at EAT Restaurant Partners, while Love-Lindsey has served as director of operations for the group.

The duo helped EAT open and run Pizza & Beer of Richmond, Hot Chick, Fatty Smokes, Red Salt Chophouse & Sushi and Wong’s Tacos. But the duo always had ambitions to own something of their own.

Mike has served as executive chef for EAT Restaurant Partners the last four years.

“This was a great opportunity for me to spread my wings and get my own thing going,” Lindsey said. “Hopefully, we can keep the magic going with what we’re doing at Lillie Pearl. It’s something I feel good and passionate about.”

Lillie Pearl is leasing the 4,000-square-foot space that was left vacant by Pink Flamingo’s closure this summer. Prior to that, Pasture operated in the building for 8 years.

Lillie Pearl is named for Lindsey’s grandmother, and he said he wants the new venture to capture the energy of its namesake’s home.

“We want the restaurant to have that feeling of, ‘Oh, we’re going to grandma’s house,’ but it’s the cool grandma,” Lindsey said. “Where you can have great food, be loud, laugh and celebrate.”

Lillie Pearl’s menu will feature New American fare with plenty of West African influence.

The building was previously home to The Pink Flamingo and Pasture before that. (BizSense file photo)

“A dish I really hope is a staple for us and I’m excited to do is the Obe Ata lamb shank with jollof rice,” Lindsey said. “It’s a traditional West African dish, and it pays homage to what the true, core Black American influence on the South is. I want to be able to celebrate that.”

Lindsey added Lillie Pearl will have a full bar, and be open for lunch and brunch on Sundays.

“I’ve been in the business a long time and I can tell you what helps you make money is lunch,” Lindsey said, laughing.

The space needs minimal work, Lindsey said, and they hope to have Lillie Pearl open in November. Nathan Hughes of Sperity Real Estate Ventures represented Lillie Pearl in lease negotiations. Thalhimer’s Reilly Marchant represented the landlord.

Lindsey said it’s bittersweet for he and Kimberly to be leaving EAT after a good run.

“I’ve had a great experience at EAT. I helped create an incredible avenue of restaurants with them,” he said. “It’s not sad, but it’s like when you go off to college and you leave home. You don’t really want to leave your friends but you’re super excited to go and do your own thing. It’s kind of that feeling.”

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charles Frankenhoff
charles Frankenhoff
22 days ago

very impressive resumes, I look forward to trying this place when the situation improves.

John Lindner
John Lindner
22 days ago

Yeah for them and yeah for the neighborhood! It’s nice to see people are still investing in this Grace Street corridor. I can’t wait to try it too.

PS: I think it would be amazing (maybe when the weather is warmer) to block off Grace from 6th to 4th and turn it into a patio at least temporarily. The narrow streetscape already gives it a sense of space, and I could see string lights zigzagging from side to side.

Mark Slater
Mark Slater
17 days ago
Reply to  John Lindner

That section of Grace was closed to traffic in the 1970s in an attempt to turn it into a “pedestrian plaza”. Complete flop. Please explain to me why this is a good idea now. What has changed since then?

J. Sid del Cardayre
J. Sid del Cardayre
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark Slater

Nothing has changed in RVA since the 1970s? Dude, where exactly do you live? This is one of the coolest mid-sized/growing cities in the country.

Mark Slater
Mark Slater
16 days ago

It’s called “marketing research”. Read a book.

Nathan Hughes
Nathan Hughes
22 days ago

Congratulations to Mike & Lindsey! I’m excited for you and excited to have you opening only two blocks down from our office! It was a pleasure representing you on this lease. I have to give a plug to Reilly Marchant on representing the landlord here, too. Great team all around!

Last edited 22 days ago by Nathan Hughes
Nathan Hughes
Nathan Hughes
21 days ago
Reply to  Nathan Hughes

*Mike and KIM (correcting my own mistake!)
geez

Laura Price
Laura Price
22 days ago

Lindsey said it’s bittersweet for him and Kimberly to be leaving EAT after a good run.

Cynthia Oliver
Cynthia Oliver
22 days ago
Reply to  Laura Price

I caught that too!

Karen Shipman
Karen Shipman
21 days ago

Looking forward to checking this place out! Good luck to them!