Pearl's Kitchen: Feeding E. Texans 'Southern food with a modern flair'

Published: May. 11, 2016 at 9:47 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2016 at 9:06 PM CDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, TX (KLTV) - There's a fairly new restaurant winning the hearts of residents of Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas

The restaurant is called Pearl's Kitchen, and it's the fruition of a dream held by 23-year-old Hannah Parker, a native of Mount Pleasant and recent cooking school graduate.

"I went to culinary school, and then I went to pastry school, at Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas, and graduated just over a year ago. I always wanted to move back to Mount Pleasant to have a restaurant," she said.  "I had the opportunity to move home, so I did. And then a lady I had known all my life called me and said "oh my gosh, I need a cake, can you help me?" She shared the cake on Facebook and after that it just kind of blew up."

Parker began taking numerous orders to make cakes and pastries from her home, as allowed by the Texas Cottage Food Law, allowing her to continue working with food, working in a specialty food store in the area at the time, as well.

But making cakes from home wasn't her  dream, though she admits she enjoyed the experience. What she really wanted was to have her own restaurant.

Parker says she was excited when an opportunity arose in her hometown to move into a small existing kitchen inside The Dance Company's building, located on Edwards Avenue in Mount Pleasant. After adding some needed equipment, she had what she had been dreaming of: her own restaurant, which she named Pearl's Kitchen, Pearl being the nickname her grandmother had given her.

Hannah describes her food as "Southern, with a modern twist."

Hannah says she took cues from the wonderful Southern recipes she got from her grandmothers and great grandmothers, and has crafted her own recipes based on those classics. The photos of the results of Hannah's work make it very clear that the recipes are Southern food at its finest, as do the numerous orders for her modern Southern fare.

"The pot roast is probably the biggest seller on the menu. People are very excited about their pot roast," she laughed. "The menu changes daily. It's on the menu every other week or so, and people will call three days in advance to reserve their plate," she laughs. "The pot roast is slow-cooked for 16 hours, until it falls apart easily with a fork. With scratch-made brown gravy, rice and a roll, everyone seems to love it!"

When asked what the best-selling dessert item was, she summed it up in one word: Pie.

"We have pie pretty much daily, all different kinds. If there are two other desserts and a pie, most people will go for the pie," she says.

As for how this 23-year-old chef and business-owner gets everything done in the restaurant from day to day, she immediately gave credit to her family.

"I couldn't do this without my family; my brother helps me every day, my mom helps all the time, my sisters help when they're out of school, my dad talks to everyone he can about it...without my family, this wouldn't be possible," she said.

Though she still gets requests, Parker says she doesn't have the time to do the cakes as often as she used to before opening. She dedicates her time to building the restaurant, working on the menu, and preparing the food she serves her customers, a group of people which is growing weekly as they discover Pearl's Kitchen inside the dance studio. 

Parker says she definitely hopes to expand in the future, to be able to have more space and to be able to open for dinner. People often ask Parker and her family when that will happen, and though she has no immediate plans for expansion, she thinks there'll be a good response when the day comes.

She shared a word of encouragement when asked what message she has for women of any age who are considering following their dreams, as she has done.

"I'm only 23, I know, but I say if you're passionate about something, go for it. It'll be the scariest thing you've ever done, but do it. Things work out in the end."

You can find Pearl's Kitchen inside the Dance Company building at 2237 N. Edwards Avenue in Mount Pleasant. They are open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. You can find them on Facebook here. 

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