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History of 402 North Pearl

Our charming space in 402 North Pearl is part of historic Downtown Ellensburg and the emblematic Davidson Building. But the restaurant has a history all it's own.

The Davidson Building

Ellensburg's Iconic downtown landmark, notable by its unique turret, was built by Local attorney, John B. Davidson in 1888 and completed in 1890. Davidson spent tens of thousands of dollars on the construction work of this block, and the building still houses many successful Ellensburg businesses today. The building was one of the few historic architectures that wasn't burnt to the ground in the infamous 1889 Ellensburg fire.  The painted phoenix mural on the left side wall (adjacent to The Pearl) symbolizes the town's "rise from the ashes." Metaphorically, the origins of The Pearl Bar & Grill resonate with the fire born phoenix as well.

The Starlight

From Pub to Pearl, the space in 402 N Pearl has had quite the restaurant tradition.  Any restaurant owner knows that location is key and it would seem that 402 North was created special for dining. For the last 50 years, every establishment that has existed within the 402 N location has been a restaurant. From Giovanni's to Mcullughs, and The Cabbage Patch to the infamous Pub Minglewood,  a beautiful, unintentional tradition of handing down the keys from owner to owner began and continued, and before the shimmering Pearl, there was Starlight.  

 

For 17 years, Doris Morgan, then later her sister, created and ran the beloved Starlight Lounge. The Starlight Lounge, with its glowing neon sign and vibrant energy was a community favorite for locals and Central Washington University students. The space and lounge was passed down to Morgan's sister, Becky Morgan-Marschall. Doris Morgan sadly died in 2017 after a battle with cancer but left behind a true legacy. After a year of carrying and honoring her sister’s business, Becky and her husband, Cal, decided to re-retire and close the Starlight Lounge. Blake Collins, the now owner of the 402 North Pearl space, actually used to be a bartender at The Starlight years ago. Much of his bartending experience, community connection, and love for the location came from his Starlight days with Doris Morgan, so when the space was for sale, he took a chance to make it his own while still honoring his time and the communities admiration for the previous tenet.  The Pearl Bar & Grill has subtle nods to The Starlight Lounge all around the restaurant and when The Pearl first opened, Collins kept around a few Starlight menu favorites including the "Damnit Doris" cocktail. Today, the iconic Starlight Lounge neon sign lives in the Kittitas County Historical museum's Neon Lights exhibit.