Jimmy Pearls last weekend at 7th Street Public Market

Will Kreznick

After several months of calling 7th Street Public Market home, Jimmy Pearls’ last day at the uptown Charlotte location is Saturday. This means you have one last chance to go get your favorite fish sandwich — for now. Don’t worry, chefs Daryl Cooper and Oscar Johnson are already busy making […]

After several months of calling 7th Street Public Market home, Jimmy Pearls’ last day at the uptown Charlotte location is Saturday. This means you have one last chance to go get your favorite fish sandwich — for now.

Don’t worry, chefs Daryl Cooper and Oscar Johnson are already busy making plans for next steps, including a permanent location. “We got a lot of stuff we want to do, but right now it’s about building capital,” Johnson told CharlotteFive on Friday afternoon. “We’re trying to appeal to what people want but at the same time, doing it with integrity — not just throwing some stuff in the fryer.”

“In other words, not selling out,” Cooper said.

Jimmy Pearls was born out of a desire for the chefs to showcase foods from their home — the Tidewater region, the 757, the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. “We wanted to infuse that with our classical cooking skills and showcase that to Charlotte itself,” Cooper said.

The restaurant was located at Common Market in March then moved temporarily to the Uptown Yolk space at 7th Street Public Market in June.

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Daryl Cooper finishes taking an order at Jimmy Pearls on Friday, Feb. 26. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

The restaurateurs make simple, fried fish and other seafood, burgers and more.

“We are refining seafood and we are elevating what has been typical at other seafood spots,” Johnson said. “Right now we are transitioning, giving everyone that food truck fare — for right now.”

Next up is planning for the Jimmy Pearls food truck and a future brick-and-mortar. And don’t worry, the fish sandwich will always be on the menu.

“All of our food is going to have history behind it, for instance: The Uncle Gene’s fish sandwich is a homage to my grandmother and his uncle,” Cooper said.

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Jimmy Pearls is known for its fish sandwich, but don’t forget about the burger. The JP Burger is 1/3 lb patty, smoked cheddar slaw, tomato and country ham on a Duke’s Brioche Bun. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

The fish sandwich may be the popular choice, but don’t sleep on the burger, either. “We got something for everybody,” Johnson said. “We’ll have a few burgers going into the day. We’re not prioritizing the burger, we want y’all to get the fish. But if you’re in a mood, then you’re like: ‘I was able to go to Jimmy Pearls and get the burger …’”

No matter what you order, just go, Johnson said. “Y’all come on down to Jimmy Pearls, man. Last couple of days, come through. We’ll take care of you — y’all are family.”

Jimmy Pearls

7th Street Public Market (224 E. 7th Street) until Feb. 27

Instagram: @_jimmypearls


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Melissa Oyler is the editor of CharlotteFive. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her running, practicing hot yoga or snuggling with her rescue dog, X. Find her on Instagram or Twitter: @melissaoyler.

Profile Image of Alex Cason

Alex Cason is a photojournalist whose primary focus is to let stories unfold through the visual mediums of photography and videography. Cason’s dynamic interpretations are woven into the fabric of a city that is bustling with growth, challenged daily with racial and socioeconomic equality, and overflowing with art and creativity. Crafting a story with integrity for a variety of demographics in a matter of moments is the broad stroke of his character. His specialties include portraiture work, sports, editorial, architectural, creative, government, street and event coverage.
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