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Over-the-Rhine restaurant industry veterans to open oyster spot at former Pearlstar location

Posted at 12:19 PM, May 19, 2023

CINCINNATI — Two bar and restaurant industry veterans are set to open an oyster spot at the former location of Pearlstar in Over-the-Rhine.

Garth Lieb and Tom Stephen — the owners of Main Street's The Pony and Liberty's Bar & Bottle — have signed a lease at 1220 Vine Street.

The duo have both lived and worked in OTR for more than 15 years, with Liberty's opening nearly a decade ago, but the new venture allows them to explore a different concept.

Lieb and Stephen are set to focus on all things oysters at the spot that used to house Pearlstar, an oyster restaurant that was abruptly shut down by its owners in February 2023. Other than its raw bar offerings, the restaurant will also serve small plates and shared dishes on its still-evolving menu.

"We would like the menu to feature a playful collection of seafood preparations while also making use of great local produce in a variety of vegetarian dishes," the owners said.

In terms of libations, the restaurant will have classic and seasonal cocktails, an extensive old-world wine list and more. Both The Pony and, especially, Liberty's are known for their beloved cocktails, and Liberty's consistently offers a massive wine selection with various options for all types of wine lovers.

There currently is no set opening date for the currently unnamed oyster restaurant, but its owners are in the process of making minor updates to the building. The restaurant's space has a 2,000-square-foot interior alongside a 2,000-square-foot patio that has its own outdoor bar.

"Garth and Tom have already made their mark in OTR, so we're looking forward to partnering with them on a new concept that will complement the other amazing dining options along Vine Street," said Lindzie Gunnels, commercial leasing manager with 3CDC. "We believe their vision for the space will take full advantage of both the indoor and outdoor space at the location, which will result in a unique spot in the middle of one of the best dining districts in the City."

Once it opens, the new dining spot will be located nearby Abigail Street, Bakersfield, 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab and more.

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