Pearls Hamburgers Won't Open Until At Least 2014

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The much-anticipated downtown Airstream burger restaurant will no longer be able to open on April 16

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton-North Hampton Patch , April 12, 2013

[The following article is courtesy of

Despite changing town officials' minds and gaining significant support for the idea of an Airstream restaurant in downtown Hampton, the owners of Pearls Hamburgers say for the second spring in a row that their dreams will likely have to be put on hold.

Owners Jen Blankenship and Heide Conlin had targeted April 16, 2013, — the birthday of Conlin's mother, the inspiration behind Pearls — for the opening of their upscale burger restaurant, although the duo have said that goal won't be possible for one significant reason.

"We've gotten a lot of support from the Coastal Economic Development Corporation and Dan Gray has been a champion for us, but we're finding it very difficult to come up with the final financing piece (i.e. no bank loans for small business) to get started," said Blankenship and Conlin in an e-mail. "We may have another opportunity later this year to try again. If the lot is still available and the zoning board willing, we could be on target for Spring 2014. You know, as they say, 3rd time's a charm."

Pearls Hamburgers received approval in early 2012 after overcoming initial reservations from elected officials about the proposal to transform the vacant lot at the corner of Lafayette Road and Swain Court into a landscaped outdoor eatery with a converted silver 1963 Airstream trailer permanently installed in its center.

Blankenship and Conlin had to abandon thoughts of opening last year altogether, though, after the town's approval process pushed the projected opening back from spring 2012 to at the very earliest the middle of summer 2012.

Pearls could've opened in 2012, although the decision was made not to — even though Blankenship said last year that she and Conlin were "chomping at the bit" and "bummed" to have to wait.

"Despite that, it was a business decision to wait and not rush and stress ourselves out in the middle of the season," said Blankenship at the time. "We didn’t want to run the risk of shooting ourselves in the foot for the beginning of the season and not be able to sustain it through to next season."

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