PearlStar and Royce Permanently Close Without Warning

Neither restaurant has commented on the closures.

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click to enlarge Terry Raley's restaurants PearlStar (left) and Royce are dark on Feb. 16, 2023, one day after they both suddenly closed. - Photos: Catie Viox
Photos: Catie Viox
Terry Raley's restaurants PearlStar (left) and Royce are dark on Feb. 16, 2023, one day after they both suddenly closed.

Two popular restaurants closed without warning on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Royce and PearlStar, both owned by Nashville restaurateur Terry Raley, are now permanently closed.

The news of their closure is confirmed by Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), the company that leased the properties to Raley.

"It's unfortunate things didn't work out with Royce and Pearlstar but we are confident there will be significant interest in both spaces and we plan to get to work immediately on re-tenanting these locations," Joe Rudemiller, the vice president of marketing and communications at 3CDC, tells CityBeat.

As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, neither restaurant has commented on the closures. The websites and social media accounts for both restaurants also appear to be deactivated.

Raley opened PearlStar in fall of 2021 in the former A Tavola storefront on Vine Street. The restaurant, highly anticipated at the time, offered both East and West Coast oysters and other raw delicacies such as crudo, ceviche and tartare. The kitchen also featured a wood-burning grill to create (non-raw) burgers and steak sandwiches, and the menu included items for vegans and vegetarians. "We didn’t want to do just seafood; we really wanted it to be a place where you can have something for everyone," culinary and operations director Leroy Ansley said before opening.

The 2,000-square-foot interior of PearlStar was complemented by a 2,000-square-foot outdoor space that featured bocce ball courts. "We wanted the space to feel completely different than what has been here before and I believe we accomplished that," chef Ansley told CityBeat.

In the 2022 Best of Cincinnati issue, CityBeat staff said PearlStar had the best baked oysters.

"The 'baked oyster snack features three bivalves topped with tonnato butter, chile, herbs and breadcrumbs, which are then baked in a wood-fired oven. It’s a take on classic oysters Rockefeller — and perfect for people who don’t do seafood on ice," CityBeat wrote at the time.

More recently, CityBeat dubbed PearlStar as one of Cincinnati's "horniest bars."

"Is it the perfectly-paired white wine at PearlStar that’s got you giving your date the look? No, it’s nature’s Viagra: the oyster," CityBeat wrote in January. "Science and folklore suggest oysters get the blood and dopamine flowing, making the oceanic aphrodisiac the perfect date night order. And PearlStar is bursting with oyster options."

In August, Raley launched Royce just a mile south inside 3CDC’s $51 million development The Foundry in Fountain Square. With Raley dubbing it a "modern French brasserie," Royce offered a French-leaning menu and featured a raw bar.

The 4,700-square-foot Royce was the first tenant inside of the 3.5-story mixed-use development, which boasts 150,000 square feet of offices plus 35,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the street level.

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