Southern food is having a moment. That’s obvious. It has been for a few years now, and it is continuing to grow in popularity, well, because it’s delicious, soul-comforting and it reminds people of home, their mamas and also there’s bacon. People love that. It’s science. Anyway, the latest to show up and say they’re gonna do a damn good job of serving Dallas the southern food we deserve is the team behind Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine: Top Chef star Tre Wilcox, his tapped executive chef Jermaine Brown and Darcy Dudley of Trending Restaurant Group. According to the press release, chef Brown’s background ain’t too shabby: “Chef Brown got his start at Brennan’s of Houston, where he earned his stripes as the lead line cook and banquet chef. Moving on to Dallas, he continued his development in the kitchen at Abacus, Kent Rathbun’s award-winning restaurant, where he worked his way up from line cook to Executive Sous Chef. Chef Brown has also held Executive Sous Chef positions at fine dining spots including Marquee Grill and Loft 610.”

So a few days ago there was a media dinner for Julia Pearl. And luckily for my date and I, we were offered a sweet ride by a company called Blacklane. Blacklane, if you haven’t heard of it, is a car service. You might be whispering, “like Uber…” yeah, but you can book it for a specific time and get a confirmation (WHAAAAATTTT??!!!) and you’ll know how much the ride will cost you in advance, so there’s no surge bullshit. Win. Yes, there’s an app, but there’s also a website. The process was easy and painless. Just saying. Anyway, the folks there gave me a free ride to let you know about it. So check out my swaggermobile:

Anyway, back to the dinner. This guy read like a southern food greatest hits album:

But since I wasn’t driving, I treated myself to some liquid calories in the form of a couple of these Jazzy-belles. Strawberries, mint and lots of southern sweetness. I ain’t mad at that.

Also, these two handsome gents made our food. How can that be bad?

Tre Wilcox and Jermaine Brown

Wings at Julia Pearl may sound pedestrian but they did not disappoint. The flavors, especially the lemon pepper, were pretty damn outstanding. Pinkies up, ladies.

A trio of appetizers were almost too cute to eat. Almost. Fried chicken skin topped a classic deviled egg, a tasty two-bite crab cake sat in a creamy pool of lemony sauce, and my favorite: a black-eyed pea hummus was light, unique and delicious.

Shrimp and grits featured a nicely broiled broccoli spear and some pretty dang spicy grits (which I didn’t mind in a small portion). So watch out!

Classic cornmeal-crusted catfish here. Chunky mashed potatoes and nicely cooked green beans. Moving on…

Look at that biscuit. Honey glazed and sweet as a dessert. I’d have liked a few of them to take home and eat in bed. Just talking out loud. Probably the dranks talking out loud, though. The fried chicken was tasty, but that smoked gouda mac just ain’t my style. It’s the one cheese I can’t rock. I will be back for some chicken and biscuits however…

Cake and ice cream? Yes please. That red velvet cake tasted like your sweet old Grandma made it. Probably because somebody’s Grandma did. It was delivered that morning.

Overall, Julia Pearl (named after Darcy Dudley’s and his wife’s grandmothers) is a tasty southern tribute to who we can only assume were two sweet old ladies with more than a little bit of spice.

Disclaimer: This media preview was … y’know… a media preview so it was comped. I clearly didn’t looove everything there, but there were items I liked and things I plan to go back for. Best of luck to the team at Julia Pearl and thank you for having us! It was a great night!

Thanks again to Blacklane for being my DD the other night. Download the app from the App Store and give them a try. I think us grownups will appreciate the predictability and simplicity of a car service that just does the thing it’s supposed to do and does it well. Use code JX0P4HQR to save $10 on your first ride on the app or at


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