Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Pearl of a Location

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Anyone who's spent any time on top of Monteagle Mountain probably knows about Pearl's Foggy Mountain Cafe. Located midway between the sleepy burgs of Monteagle and Sewanee, Pearl's offered upscale Southern cuisine prepared with local and organic ingredients and served in a comfortable homey atmosphere. Notice the unfortunate use of the past tense in the previous sentence.

Yup, unfortunately Pearl's was a victim of "Sewanee Lightning" last year. Just like the nearby unfortunately named Burnt Wood Roadhouse, a suspicious fire destroyed most of the building but left the kitchen space intact. The ironies swirling around those circumstances boggle the mind. Local scuttlebutt involved arson, stolen checks, meth labs and disgruntled ex-employees. What really matters is that there's one less place to get a good meal on top of the mountain.

click to enlarge They didn't say WHICH holiday
  • They didn't say WHICH holiday
After an initial bit of optimism that they might rebuild and reopen, the longer the rubble remained untouched, the less optimism anyone had for a Phoenix-like revival. Hoping that there was just a delay in the insurance claim, some mountain denizens still clung to the belief that Pearl's famed Low Country Shrimp White Cheddar Grits would eventually return to the table.

Now, the ghost has officially been given up and Elvis has left the building. While the burnt debris was eventually cleared and some rudimentary structural work has begun, this large sign appeared earlier this month.

click to enlarge 3735980211_e124f9cb3b.jpg

It's a beautiful site full of memories with a built-in clientele of Sewanee students, their wealthy parents and the weekend Nashville/Chattanooga/Atlanta commuters who own property on top of the mountain. I can't guarantee anybody can make a living entering the restaurant industry in this economy, but I can think of a lot less desirable places to go bankrupt. Hopefully, somebody will give it a go. I'll be first in line for a table for two on Opening Night.

click to enlarge 3736775186_23051df568_m.jpg

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