The Effect Kitchen Nightmares Had On The Black Pearl

The Black Pearl was a sinking ship in a concrete ocean long before Gordon Ramsay ever climbed aboard. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the establishment had burned through a lot of the goodwill that it had garnered at its downtown location. By the time "Kitchen Nightmares" came knocking in 2008, the Black Pearl was $250,000 in debt and desperately in need of someone to rock the boat. 

The main issue appeared to be three owners at war with one another over how to run the business. Owners David, Brian, and Greg spoke almost exclusively through text and never worked at the restaurant at the same time. This left the staff aimless with a lack of direction on a day-to-day basis. Combine that with subpar ingredients, and it was clear to Ramsay that the restaurant needed an overhaul. For one, the "Hell's Kitchen" chef discovered that the restaurant was passing over Canadian lobster as Maine lobster. Canadian lobster is considered less sweet and tougher than its Maine counterpart. 

So it's no shock to viewers that the Black Pearl sank after Ramsay left. However, the owners insist that it was actually Ramsay and his changes that made the restaurant close. In an email, via Eater, they accused the British chef of sullying the Black Pearl's reputation in order to maximize the show's ratings. They wrote, "The changes Gordy Ramsay made were ridiculed by the press, hated by our regular customers, and were the direct cause of a 50% drop in revenues."

What happened to the Black Pearl owners?

It's hardly the first time that someone has accused "Kitchen Nightmares" of exaggerating things for the camera nor does it even rank among the show's biggest scandals. The Black Pearl's owners further argued that altering its lobster rolls helped doom the restaurant. Allegedly, Gordon Ramsay "cut the amount of lobster in half, added lemon, lettuce, celery, salt and pepper and way too much mayo." They refused to let their hatred for Ramsay drift silently into the night, writing another rant about the chef the following year and calling him "a philandering hypocrite."

Eventually, Greg, David, and Brian appeared to move on from Ramsay and their failed restaurant. Since then, David has turned to music and performing as a musician. He even played a sold-out show alongside music icon Don McLean in August 2022. With more shows in the future, David appears to have left the restaurant world behind. Meanwhile, Greg continued working as a general manager for several restaurants after the Black Pearl closed. More, recently, he worked at Hakkasan in NYC in 2018, but we're not sure what he's up to these days. Likewise, Brian has kept a relatively low profile since the episode aired.

As for what became of The Black Pearl's dining location, it's now a restaurant called The Flatiron Room. Based on Yelp reviews, it appears to have found more success. Still, the legacy of the Black Pearl lives on in "Kitchen Nightmares" re-runs.