Partners Karen Small and Jill Davis Reveal Plans for Pearl Street Wine Market & Café

click to enlarge Owners Karen Small (left) and Jill Davis. - Karin McKenna
Karin McKenna
Owners Karen Small (left) and Jill Davis.

Back in March, Karen Small shuttered the Flying Fig, her 23-year-old Ohio City bistro. But when she did, she announced that she would be partnering up with Jill Davis, owner of Toast Wine Bar, on a new project in the same space. Today, the partners revealed for the first time what that project will be.

Inspired by European bistros, Pearl Street Wine Market & Café will combine the retail aspect of the former Market at the Fig with a casual small-plates, farm-to-table café. In addition to small and shared plates starring local charcuterie and cheeses, there will be larger entrees featuring proteins, pasta, grains and seasonal produce. A rotating selection of wines by the glass, beer and classic cocktails will be available.

Intermingled with the café tables will be shelves stocked with low-intervention wines made in the biodynamic style and bottled with minimal manipulation. These wines typically are made with native or wild yeast and minimal use of sulfites and other additives. Shoppers can look forward to a great selection of skin-contact wines, pét-nats and other exciting and expressive natural wines.

“These farmers let the grapes be the grapes,” explains Small. “There is an inherent respect for the land and the terroir really comes through. These wines are unique, funky and special.”

Adds Davis, “We’ve always shared a passion for the same kinds of foods and exploring the limits of wine. We like to find wines that not everyone else is drinking.”

The name Pearl Street is a tribute to the original name for W. 25th Street as well as the old Pearl Street Market that stood across the street from the West Side Market, which replaced it.

“We looked at the history of the area for inspiration,” says Davis. “Ohio City has always been a market area and a gathering place. We like the idea of telling that story in our own way.”

Look for Pearl Street Wine Market & Café to open in mid-summer.
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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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