ROCKLAND, Maine — Larry Reed, who has been in the restaurant business since he was 16 years old, will be opening The Pearl on the city’s waterfront in May.
Reed announced this weekend that he has secured a 10-year lease to be the owner and operator of the landmark seasonal restaurant located on the end of a wharf at Rockland’s Harbor Park.
A Rockland native, Reed said he is confident he can make The Pearl a success even though others have been unable.
There has been a restaurant at the end of the pier where The Pearl is located for more than 50 years. In 2004, the building was destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt and reopened in 2010, with multiple different owners operating it over the past six years.
Michele Ragussis, a celebrity television chef, ran the restaurant in 2014. Then last year, for a shortened season, Linda Novak oversaw it as the Oyster Bar at the Pearl. The property is owned by Frank Ferraiolo through his Waterfront Group Inc.
“I’ve seen The Pearl struggle the couple times I have been there the past couple years,” Reed said. “I don’t think they fully grasped what a restaurant on the water has to be.”
Reed said he plans on having a menu dominated by seafood provided by local fishermen. The longtime restaurateur cited his strong ties to the community and said people know his reputation.
Reed has worked for five years as the manager at Archer’s on the Pier, which is located several hundred yards away, also on a pier on the city waterfront. He said his experience at Archer’s has been great and he has had a great opportunity to see what makes a restaurant a success on the waterfront.
Reed started working in restaurants at 16 as a busboy at the Samoset Resort in neighboring Rockport. He moved up to waiter and bartender and also worked on the banquet team at the Samoset.
He ran the Waterworks restaurant in Rockland starting 12 years ago for six years before selling the business, while retaining the building on Lindsey Street.
Reed said he is working on putting a staff together for The Pearl as well as getting the licenses to open for the first week of May. He plans to stay open through Halloween.