Black Pearl is a rare gem, the kind of place discovered and adopted for its charm and welcoming ambiance. From inception, the idea behind Black Pearl Ann Arbor has been to reinvent the experience of "comfortable and cool" dining and lounging in the vibrant heart of downtown Ann Arbor. Our bar and wait staff have been selected for what their parents have taught them to do . . . to welcome everyone with love.
Black Pearl Ann Arbor offers a selection of exotic drinks. Each month Black Pearl’s bartenders add a new crafted cocktails for our guests. Our wine list is unpretentious, affordable and growing.
Our award winning fish tacos have given us a national reputation. The rest of our diversified menu including seafood, burgers and our famous Pasta Gone Bayou keeps surprising customers with its delicious and creative offerings. We have tried to take certain dishes off the menu, but our regular customers won't let us!
Our goal is to create a lasting impression. We will go above and beyond to make sure that your time spent at Black Pearl is effortless and delightful. So if you're making plans for dinner, need somewhere to go for a nightcap, looking to impress that special someone or would like to host or cater an event, allow us to impress you.
EXECUTIVE CHEF / James Wilhelm
James was raised on the eastside of Detroit in a household that made everything from scratch. This is where his passion for cooking was born. He entered the restaurant industry at age 14 with Andiamo Trattoria, a kitchen focused on made-from-scratch cooking. His experience working there confirmed that he found his calling. He went on to earn a Bronze medal in the American Culinary Federation post-secondary hot foods competition and helped coach young chefs to the podium in years after. He worked at the Common Grill in Chelsea, MI and then headed to New York City, honing his culinary craft at Empellon Cocina, Momofuku Ma Peche and Seamstress. On a trip to visit their sons, Jan and Harry, owners of Black Pearl Ann Arbor, asked James if he would ever come back to Michigan. He said it has always been his dream to be the Executive Chef at Black Pearl because he was part of the team that created the original menu in 2008. Chef James brings a new level of creativity to our offerings with an emphasis on what's fresh, what's in season, and what's delicious.
GENERAL MANAGER / Michael Hole
Michael's mother was a managing partner in several restaurants and early on, he immersed himself in the hospitality business. He worked every position, including the kitchen, the bar and the front of the house. Michael's first experience as a General Manager was about 15 years ago in Royal Oak at Fifth Ave Billiards, a very high volume bar and live entertainment venue. What was missing was the chance to combine his love of food with his vast knowledge of wine and spirits. When he met Harry, he told him that he wanted this to be the last job he ever has. For Michael, this is more than a job. He continuously shows our guests what it's like to use love as the main ingredient in everything we do.
SOUS CHEF / Jeff Cooper
Jeff Cooper was born and raised in Southgate, Michigan. His passion for cooking came from his mother. He has been working in the industry for 11 years and has studied at the Art Institute of Michigan. As an executive chef and sous chef in and around Ann Arbor and Brighton, Jeff knows the area. He brings his vision for creativity, strives to use the freshest ingredients, and emphasizes a from-scratch cooking philosophy.
OWNER / Harry Cohen
As a psychologist who travels the country giving talks to executives on leadership, customer service, and personal development, launching Black Pearl Ann Arbor was a perfect opportunity to create an environment that embodies the essence of what Harry talks about; welcoming people with love, creating a great place to work, and delivering a memorable experience. In his book, Secrets of the Obvious, Harry writes of the human need for friendship and a place where people can be surrounded by “good company.” The mission of the staff at Black Pearl is to create a unique and accessible place where people can gather with friends, family, or strangers and be uplifted by the food, the service, the music, and the beautiful ambiance. Please join us for any or all of the above.
OWNER / Jan Ziegelman Cohen
Jan has lived in Ann Arbor for over 40 years and is the co-owner of Black Pearl Ann Arbor with her husband Harry. Her degrees in Social Work, Graphic Design and Photography are all integrated into her responsibilities at Black Pearl. Jan uses her artistic sensibilities to make the overall vibe of Black Pearl a beautiful, warm, inviting, and uplifting place for customers and staff alike. The unique ambience of Black Pearl is one of the reasons people love to hang out there and Jan is forever looking for ways to enhance that experience for everyone.