(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 2 | View All Season 2 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: September 25, 2008
Black Pearl Address: 37 W 26th St New York, NY 10184
The Black Pearl was a Manhattan, New York City restaurant featured on Season 2 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Black Pearl Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in September 2008, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened back in February 2008.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 2 Episode 5.
In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, tensions run high as Chef Gordon Ramsay visits The Black Pearl in New York City, New York.
Black Pearl, a restaurant that specializes in lobster, was once located in downtown Manhattan and owned by David and Brian.
The business was booming so David and Brian put out an ad for a third investor and met Greg, who now owns Black Pearl in their new location in Midtown.
The relationship between the three owners was professional until the restaurant started to lose money, $250,000 to be exact.
The stress of running a restaurant that loses more money than it makes took a toll on the relationship between the three business owners.
Now David, Brian, and Greg no longer speak to each other and only communicate via email or text only.
A restaurant divided cannot stand, and that is ever-present as the owners and staff members reveal their frustrations and concerns regarding management or the lack thereof.
One of the staff members revealed to Gordon that the three owners are never there at the same time.
To make matters worse, Chef Ramsay is concerned that the owners don’t want to be there at all.
All of these issues mean that Gordon Ramsay has his work cut out for him in the Black Pearl Kitchen Nightmares visit.
After meeting with the staff, Chef Ramsay orders the clam chowder, lobster mac and cheese, and 3 lobster rolls, supposedly the best food on the restaurant’s menu.
To Gordon’s dismay, the clam chowder was watery, the mac and cheese were too chewy, and the lobster rolls were bland.
He does like his server, though, who was named Steven.
Chef Ramsay then sits down with the three feuding owners and discusses his concerns regarding the food.
The owners blame each other and are unwilling to take ownership of the unimpressive menu items.
Chef Ramsay begins to question the three business owners’ level of commitment to the restaurant.
Gordon then wishes to witness how the restaurant operates on a busy night with all three owners present.
David works in the kitchen, expediting orders.
His lack of experience and confidence is seen in the quality each dish exhibits, resulting in a large number of dishes being sent back to the kitchen.
With Greg out of his element in the kitchen, he decides to pace the dining area.
When a table sends back a dish, instead of addressing the customer’s complaint, David decides to argue with the complaining customer instead.
Weird smells coming from the food, grit found in the mussels, and a chef selling Canadian lobster as Maine lobster.
Chef Ramsay has seen enough and calls a staff meeting.
During the staff meeting, Chef Ramsay encourages the staff members to write down questions they would like the owners to address.
The last question asked addressed the most important issue the restaurant faces: the lack of a general manager.
It is suggested by a staff member that one of the three owners become the general manager.
The owners discuss who will become the general manager while Chef Ramsay adds a new special to the night’s menu.
During the dinner-rush Brian is sent home, while Greg showcases his strengths with customers and David insults staff members in the kitchen and patronizes customers in the dining area.
At the end of the dinner rush the staff votes for Greg to become the general manager of the restaurant and Brian and David sign a document making it official.
Overnight the restaurant receives a facelift but David does not like the changes.
Nor does he like the new lobster claw game or the new way of advertising-a man passing out flyers in Times Square wearing a lobster costume.
David also reveals, hours before the relaunch, that he does not like the new menu items Chef Ramsay has put together.
On the day of the relaunch, we discover that Greg has no control in the kitchen as there is a long delay in getting food out of the window and to the customer’s table.
However, once the food is delivered all worries go out the door when the customers find themselves pleased with how the food tastes.
At the end of the night Gordon reveals his thoughts about each owner…
He really lets it out, caalling Brian lazy, stating Greg’s heart is in the right place, and claiming David does not care about the Black Pearl.
Overall, Gordon Ramsay fears for the restaurant’s fate if David remains a part of the team.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Black Pearl episode a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this NYC restaurant is still open in 2023 and beyond.
Black Pearl Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Black Pearl restaurant Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left NYC.
Spoiler alert, though – you’re probably not going to be surprised by how things worked out lol.
Is The Black Pearl still open?
The Black Pearl restaurant closed just four days after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV, so this was definitely not a successful update by Gordon.
This means that it only lasted for around seven months after the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay.
As part of the closure, the co-owners, posted a long rant blaming Gordon Ramsay for the Black Pearl restaurant issues and closure.
In the rant, they said that the Kitchen Nightmares show was “a joke”.
They also said that the changes “Gordy Ramsay” made (I guess the nickname is an insult?) led to a 50% drop in revenues and that the restaurant was never able to recover financially.
Beyond that, they said that the episode aired later than they were originally promised which is why the restaurant wasn’t able to sustain itself much past the episode air date.
The rant goes on and on, but the general idea is that the Black Pearl owners were not happy with their restaurant’s experience on Kitchen Nightmares.
Here are some of my favorite excerpts from the rant. It’s really long so I didn’t include the full text:
Well, after three years, we have fried our last clam and shucked our last oyster.
On October First, we sold our lease and fixtures to someone who may be better equipped to handle the exceedingly high cost of doing business in New York City.
As you may know, in February, we filmed an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, at our restaurant, hoping for the best.
We were naive, believing that the show was at least somewhat honest; we truly felt we could learn something from that jerk, and we anticipated a solid boost in sales from the publicity.
The sad fact is, from the beginning, it was clear that the show was a joke.
From the very first day they were initiated, the changes Gordy Ramsay made were ridiculed by the press, hated by our regular customers and were the direct cause of a 50% drop in revenues. And, we were never able to recover financially.
KN is simply a series of set-ups staged to illustrate situations that fit their script, and, as you would expect, their expert editors tell only half the story–the part that makes their star shine brightest.
All of my brilliant and pointed comebacks were left on the cutting-room floor! Darn the luck!
In fact, Gordo’s menu changes were horrible, and mirrored the buffet offerings of a cruise ship in the 1950s–lobster bearnaise? Shrimp Louis with green goddess dressing?
His ideas were laughable, and proved to be utter failures; his “innovations” had nothing to do with our concept of a New England Lobster Shack–something he clearly knows nothing about.
For God’s sake, he thinks the Canadian and Maine lobster are two different species! Maybe he thinks Canadian lobsters have an accent–“butter, eh?”
But what really sealed our fate was his bastardization of our award-winning lobster roll.
To “improve” upon our recipe, he cut the amount of lobster in half, added lemon, lettuce, celery, salt and pepper and way too much mayo.
Of course, it didn’t work. It served us right for allowing a potty-mouthed teabag to mess with our New England cuisine.
We should have taken a page out of history, revolted and sent him packing and bleeding back to King George.
Anyway, enough sour grapes. While I hope Gordo meets an untimely death so that I can dance on his grave, it is time to move on.
Lol at that last bit!
As of 2023, the old Black Pearl New York location is now occupied by a new restaurant called The Flatiron Room.
The reviews for the restaurant seem good, with a 4.5 star rating on its Yelp page on over 900 reviews.
Here’s what the Black Pearl Manhattan location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…
What happened to the Black Pearl owners?
A lot of people are wondering what happened to the Black Pearl owners after the restaurant closed.
Here’s what I could find on the various owners…
David Leonard from Black Pearl
David Leonard, one of the restaurant’s owners, is performing as a musician as of 2022.
You can learn more on his personal website, which includes performance dates as recently as August 2022.
He’s actually worked with some pretty big artists, including opening for Don McClean.
Greg Ryan from Black Pearl
Greg Ryan was the Black Pearl owner who was supposed to be the general manager after the Black Pearl Kitchen Nightmares episode.
This seems to have been a good decision as, after the Black Pearl closed, Greg had a long career acting as the general manager of various restaurants in New York City.
This include Brazilia Cafe, Bellini Restaurant, and Hakkasan NYC.
According to Greg’s LinkedIn page, his last job ended in June 2018, so I’m not sure what he’s been up to since then.
Did Gordon Ramsay ever go back to the Black Pearl?
Yes and no. Gordon Ramsay did attempt to re-visit the Black Pearl Manhattan restaurant in Season 13 Episode 13.
But, as I mentioned above, Gordon Ramsay did not have a chance to return to the Black Pearl because the restaurant closed just four days after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired.
However, Kitchen Nightmares did film an episode where he went back to the old Black Pearl restaurant New York location and visited the new restaurant in that spot.
This re-visit aired on May, 21 2010. However, the restaurant featured in that episode is also closed now.
In the episode, he also talked with Steven from the Black Pearl.
As part of the interview, Steven revealed that his last paycheck from The Black Pearl bounced, so the restaurant was really in a bad financial situation.
You can see the entire re-visit in this YouTube video:
Overall, I can’t say I’m surprised by anything that Steven said.
Final thoughts on The Black Pearl restaurant
Overall, the Black Pearl Kitchen Nightmares episode is a fun one because of how crazy it was.
However, it’s probably no surprise that the Black Pearl closed just a few days after the episode aired on TV (though more like seven months from Gordon’s visit).
The old Black Pearl New York City location is now occupied by a new restaurant named The Flatiron Room.
David Leonard is working as a musician, while Greg Ryan had a long career working as a general manager in various restaurants.
If you want to see some other New York City / Manhattan Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you might want to also check out our update for Purnima / Dillon’s in Manhattan.
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Last updated: 2023-02-19 10:18