Pearl in the Grove
A winding bucolic drive through orange groves, hills and cattle ranches, this is an unexpected haven away from congested cookie cutter Florida. The Pearl in the Grove is a European bistro with Panhandle roots and definitely an experience worth the drive out of town. The experience is many things at once: ancestral Southern with hints of Creole, a dash of Western European simplicity, easy Sunday suppers served family style, luxurious, leisurely Brunch. Wine pairing dinners. Craft and local beers. Simple ingredients feel sophisticated but fun and effortless, like the New Orleans heritage jazz that plays in the background. The Pearl eschews trend and tricks in favor of a more refined nod to cooking that’s never pretentious, just honest. An unwavering commitment to local farm produce and regional ingredients like local cheeses, hand picked organic micro greens, kumquats from the grove on the corner and local beef and pork from heritage stock-- Proprietors Curtis and Rebecca Beebe know great food and their passion is evident. Informed by world travel as military kids, they both learned techniques from their mothers. Cook with what’s indigenous to the area in the regional style. Chef Curtis watched his mom forage and cook with local produce from Northern Africa, Germany and Japan. Rebecca’s sharp eye comes from a long line of low country Alabama fishermen, farmers and restaurateurs. This sparked a well balanced culinary marriage. When settling back into the towns that arc the Gulf of Mexico, they started to hone their unique regional style and wanted to bring it to Central Florida. Louisiana to Apalachicola. Rural, not country. Leisurely, not casual. Accomplished, reserved service. Genuine hospitality. Careful cooking with lots of panache. Served in a warm and intimate dining room. Just right.