Columbia Lakefront Restaurant Closes

A well-reviewed restaurant in downtown Columbia has shut its doors.


Red Pearl, the lakefront Chinese restaurant, has closed its doors and cleaned out its tables.

A Howard Hughes Co. spokesperson confirmed Red Pearl is closed for good. Howard Hughes owns the building, but would not comment on what may be moving in next. 

A hostess at neighboring Sushi Sono said the restaurant packed up about two weeks ago, without indicating why.

What do you think should replace Red Pearl? Tell us in comments.

The restaurant, which received popular reviews from online restaurant rating sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon, was empty on Wednesday afternoon with its tables out of sight, doors locked and lights off.

Red Pearl's phone number no longer rings and its website, although still up, gives no indication that they have closed or why.

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Gloie Wall November 08, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Never went to that one but its been many other things and I went to some of them. Like Tomato Palace which is close to it.
Charlie McCabe November 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Went several times. It was always a good experience with good food!
p_sneed November 08, 2012 at 09:59 PM
That location would be ideal for a Bonefish Grill http://www.bonefishgrill.com/
John Milton Wesley November 09, 2012 at 02:24 AM
I say it's time for a "Cracker Barrel", or another "Eggspectation", or a place that also serves breakfast .
Laura Smit November 09, 2012 at 02:52 AM
It was always empty but I always enjoyed the food. I always wondered why all the tables were empty.
Sara Weakley Kirkpatrick November 09, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I'd like to see something DIFFERENT! Not another Asian or Italian place. How about Spanish Tapas?
Karina November 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I have to agree with Sara Spanish Tapas sounds great!!!
3Ks.ur.OUT November 09, 2012 at 01:41 PM
My sons and I stopped by last weekend for their dim sum (appetizers and entrees on rolling carts). Totally SHOCKED to see it closed. It was the best dim sum place between Columbia and Towson. Now, I don't know where to get great dim sum anymore. So sad!!
Kristin November 09, 2012 at 02:09 PM
I like the idea of Spanish tapas. Greek or Thai would be nice too.
Frank in Elkridge November 09, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Yes, it was the best dim sum place in this part of Maryland. The problem was with their prices - too high. It was the same problem with its predecessor. I wonder why the prices are always too high there? Is it because of the cost of the lease?
Brook Hubbard November 09, 2012 at 04:15 PM
The problem with ethnic food is you have to have the population to support it. The big three (Chinese, Italian, and Mexican) are already all over Columbia. Japanese food (specifically sushi and/or teppanyaki) and Indian cuisine are also in abundance in the area. Thai food can be found in three Thai restaurants as well as every "Asian Fusion/Bistro" place. So, we'd need something different, yet that a significant portion of residents like. In addition, the location will be expensive to rent and would likely cater to a higher income crowd. So, food that is usually found in basic chains, roadside restaurants, diners, etc. is not likely. I don't think Greek will fit in because I rarely see large Greek restaurants; I theorize most people's interaction with Greek food comes down to gyros and small eateries. Spanish tapas would fit in perfectly... but I hope not because I can't stand the amount of food you get for the price (Jaleo comes to mind). I would prefer something a bit different and yet filling (even if pricey). What about Korean? I know there are good Korean eateries a county away, but there are none in Columbia. The food is good, just as popular as Japanese (or so it seems to me), and quite filling.
stephen feldman November 09, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Perhaps the possible obsolescence of the lakefront as a restaurant venue might be considered? Not, of course, what Hughes and County planners want to hear as millions are invested in a new "Town Center". Yet the volume of business is away from Old Columbia to the eastern rim of I-95, to the west towards Marrriotsville, and even to Maple Lawn. Planners need to consider what real people want; this vacancy,, like crisis in the village centers, wonderful as these concept are in theory, may be a symptom of the market prevailing over centralized planning unrelated to consumer needs. In the meantime, real cities like DC and eastern Baltimore revive, and that is where the young of Columbia and Howard County have already relocated in large numbers and will continue to flock. Artificial Columbia will always be an artificial city, though a fine, better than average suburb..
Margaret Smith November 10, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Having Bone Fish come to Columbia would be nice. I think it would make the Lakefront more vital.
Margaret Smith November 10, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I feel that having Bone Fish to Columbia would be nice. It would make the Lakefront more vital.
Charlotte Jackson November 11, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I would like to see a seafood restaurant come there! Right now all we have is Red Lobster!!!
Joan November 12, 2012 at 02:52 PM
This last Sunday I learned about the bad news but decided to go to the Tomato Palace with my family for their Sunday Brunch. Absolutely fantastic. It wasn't dim sum but the brunch menu items were all delicious & the service was fantastic. Highly reccomended.
Columbia Ted November 12, 2012 at 05:33 PM
The problem is that the rent will be very high so therefore it will have to be pricey to even stand a chance of making a profit. With Clydes right there it will have stiff competition if the menus are even similar. Korean won't work for 2 reasons...one, there are a lot of Korean restaurants in Ellicott City like Bethany Square and Golden Triangle. Secondly, most non-Asians aren't that familar with Korean foods and would tend to go with something they are more comfortable with. I personally like the Bonefish suggestion or even a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company or Legal Seafood.
near_starlet November 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Why not a "non-chain" restaurant? Perhaps a local seafood, or high-end steakhouse? Even better would be a natural food (i.e.: Vegetarian and Vegan dishes served too!) restaurant!


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