We caught up with the dynamic pairing of Manuel and Jorge, childhood friends who have created arguably the hottest place to eat well and enjoy Lagos Marina.
1. So, how did Pearl Food Trailer come about? What inspires you?
The idea of creating the Pearl Food Trailer came from a surf trip to Morocco, where street food is typical, and food trucks are spread all over the country. These are the places where the gastronomic culture of the countries can be truly felt.
In turn, in Portugal, street food is associated with fast food in addition to being rare. Our desire was therefore tied to the need to disassociate this preconceived idea that exists and create something different, with local and fresh products.
We intend to combine this project with sustainability, doing it in different ways:
- Purchase of items from local producers.
- Job creation for local people.
- Brand association with local social causes.
- Focus on ecological issues.
2. What are your best sellers? Do you have a “Specials Board?”
Our best sellers are the oysters! We also have our mixed board that combines a wide variety of Portuguese cheeses, Iberic ham and roasted chorizo, that’s quite popular.
3. Do you stay in the same position at Lagos Marina?
Yes, we remain in the same position. We have a food trailer, but for now, we are thinking of staying fixed at Lagos Marina for a while!
4. Are you available for events?
Yes, we are! Recently we acquired a traditional Algarvian fishing boat replica that is an oyster shucking station. We are now expanding to the events segment (weddings, yachts catering, and private events). We created a premium product. Our oyster dressings (ex. gohandesuyo, togarashi pepper, shikran) have an Asiatic influence combined with super-premium oysters from Ria de Alvor, which can be the highlight of every event. It’s a brand new concept in Portugal, and we think there is a market to explore in the Algarve region.
5. Live music and food are a great combo; what’s your best pairing in terms of food and music?
Our food, combined with this exceptional location in the heart of Lagos Marina with the sunset vibes, definitely asks for some chillout music. We think that a Sax and a Dj by the sunset is the best combo we have in terms of live music. As we both are surf lovers, Jack Johnson is the soundtrack we choose to give our clients special moments most of the time. Pearl is a place to meet new people, share moments and experiences, and create unforgettable memories. This requires special attention to the music choice.
6. Any future changes/improvements?
We are always making minor improvements in our trailer. We will now acquire more cushions to sit by the rocks; we changed the trailer position to protect the terrace from the wind and created a big plant wall; we’ll introduce some new specialities to our menu. Most of the profit we make is to make improvements to create a better environment for our clients. We are also preparing a live music plan to have 3/4 days of live music in the summer months.
7. Where would you like the project to go? Would you consider trailers in other Algarve Towns?
Yes, as I told you before, now we are expanding to the events segment, and we are opening a restaurant in the Marina Club Hotel, which, the concept is Steakhouse and Seafood. Our dream was to open trailers in other Algarve towns, but it’s very hard due to the legislation that unfortunately doesn’t look to the food trailers as an added value to the locations. I’m sad to say that the Algarve is still far behind Lisbon (for instance, where you can see a lot of new concepts growing and having success).
8. Are you receptive to adding people’s ideas to your menu? If so, how best can somebody do this?
Definitely, at the end of 2021, we asked our followers on Instagram to give us some ideas of what they think can be introduced to our menu. Our clients can send their ideas to our Instagram page @pearlfoodtrailer. We can guarantee that we will read and answer everything they can propose. We are not only receptive; we appreciate they do so! Clients’ feedback is vital for us, and it’s something we always consider.