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Life, Love, and Lindsey: The story behind Lillie Pearl

Posted at 7:19 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-18 08:04:32-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- After years of working together as part of Richmond's powerful EAT Restaurant Partners group, the husband and wife duo of Mike Lindsey and Kimberly Love-Lindsey decided it was their time to open up a new restaurant of their own.

The opening of Lillie Pearl on Grace Street in downtown Richmond coincided with the birth of the couple's son and during a time when restaurants face strict COVID-19 regulations.

The perfect time to open a restaurant, Chef Lindsey shared.

"I've been through a few [restaurant openings]," Mike Lindsey, who opened Hot Chick and Fatty Smokes -- among other Richmond restaurants, said. "This thing has been so much more connected. I get to talk to almost every guest every night. To be able to build those relationships, have those people in the building when we didn't have ABC and people just eat the food. That's what it's about. Like, the food is great. We'll come back when you got alcohol so we can have fun. You know, so for me, it's been the best."

Lindsey said he's always treated every restaurant opening he's been involved with -- and there have been a dozen of them -- like it was his own restaurant. But this time, it truly is his.

"I've never not put everything into every opening. But you know, this one was definitely a lot better," he said. "With it just being me and Kim. It couldn't have been more than what it was because we'd have been dead. We've got a baby at home and not sleeping a lot. You know, there's a lot of things that this opening brought to us and it actually made life better for us opening this restaurant."

An assessment which with Kim agreed.

"It's different when it's your own," she said. "We aren't sleeping a lot, you sleep a couple hours every night and we trade off shifts, and we make it happen. But, you know, we show up every day. And you know, it's ours and the feelings there. And I think, you know, in the beginning when we were opening, I was kind of just going through the moments because like chef, I've opened a lot of restaurants and you kind of just go into opening mode. And it wasn't till the day we opened when I was like, oh shoot, this is our restaurant, we own this thing."

It's the ownership that has Kim excited for people to come and experience Lillie Pearl.

"[I am] just so proud of chef. I've had his food forever. But you know, I always tell everyone that this is his opportunity to have the way he does things with no limitations, no restrictions and you really get to taste chef Mike's food for what it is. And that's what makes it so exciting is to see that on a plate you know and people and see people get excited about it."

When you visit, Chef Mike recommends the braised lamb shank, the pork chops, the short ribs, and the striped bass.

And for dessert? The peach cobbler bread pudding.

On the farm with Libby Lewis