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For those who knew her growing up, it was a safe assumption that Ashley Young-Turner would eventually end up in the restaurant business. She was “born in a bus bin”, as those in the industry like to say, and spent her formative years helping her parents manage several restaurants in Dallas.

But Ashley had other plans.

And those plans included anything except working in a restaurant.

Ashley was well on her way to never bussing another table for the rest of her life. But just like the siren calls to the lonely fisherman, the business slowly pulled her back in. After high school, she went off to college where she studied archeology and ancient history, two subjects that couldn’t possibly be turned into a career in the family business. Ashley thought she might go to graduate school to become a college professor or maybe law school. The options were limitless. She even went overseas to study archeology which is where she met her husband John, who also had no interest in going into the restaurant business.

Ashley and her husband were living in Austin when they got the call. Her parents were opening a catering business in San Angelo and needed some help getting things up and running. It would be so much easier if someone already familiar with running restaurants could help them instead of trying to hire someone without experience.

So the Young-Turner duo packed up and moved to San Angelo...but only temporarily. After all, Ashley was not going to make her career in restaurants. But family is family and they were willing to help for a little while.

That was almost six years ago.

Since then John and Ashley have settled down in San Angelo to raise their three “bus bin” kids and shake things up in this West Texas town.

Video by Brian Groves

That was almost six years ago.

Since then John and Ashley have settled down in San Angelo to raise their three “bus bin” kids and shake things up in this West Texas town.

They helped her parents turn Rio Concho Catering into one of the premier catering options in San Angelo, eventually expanding with Peepsi’s Barbeque. But Ashley had the restaurant bug in her system, so it wasn’t long before she started dreaming about a restaurant of her own.

In March of 2014, that dream became a reality when she opened The Concho Pearl Icehouse. But Ashley wasn’t wasting all those years studying archeology and ancient history. Her very intentional focus on everything non-restaurant had given her an appreciation for creating something unique and people focused. This is why it’s no surprise that “The Pearl” stands out as a gem in a city with a barbeque restaurant on every corner.

Creating something special started well before the first plate was served. Ashley spent months searching out just the right location for her new adventure. She needed a place with a unique atmosphere, room for a smokehouse, and a big backyard. Because she had big plans.

And finding the right location was only the beginning. Ashley wanted a place the whole family could come to eat. But she didn’t want parents to have to choose between a kid-friendly vibe and amazing food. So she gave San Angelo both. The Pearl features a large, covered, outdoor seating area complete with a playset where kids can run themselves silly while they wait for their prepared to order meals.

Inside the Icehouse is no exception to Ashley’s family focus. Both the bar and all the restaurant’s tables are made of reclaimed wood from Ashley’s grandma’s house out in Paint Rock.

Once the atmosphere was set, Ashley turned her attention to the menu where she had plans to be so much more than just another barbeque joint. But it wasn’t easy. Texans expect to find brisket and ribs when we sit down for a good meal, so those were a must have, but Ashely wanted to serve more than just the usual fare. So diners at the Pearl are welcome to chow down on baby back ribs or pecan-smoked brisket, but they can also find Jagerschnitzel, smoked shrimp tacos, or their one of a kind brisket-stuffed avocado.

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Now any good Texan knows that smoked meat goes best with a cold beer, and Ashley wasn’t about to disappoint, but even when it came to the tap selection, she insisted on being original. When you check out the beer selection at The Pearl you won’t find Bud Light on draft. But you will find a diverse selection of hand-crafted beers from all over Texas and a bar staff ready to help you find something a little different.

Ashley told us she wanted to keep her menu accessible and familiar, but always with a twist. The main theme is Texas centric, but with plenty of opportunity to try something new. And the same goes for Young-Turner when she isn’t hard at work at The Pearl.

When Ashley had trouble expressing exactly what she wanted for graphics to highlight her menu and website, she didn’t just go with good enough. She took a graphic design course so she could just make them herself. And on those rare days off of work she’s driving to Austin for a run around her favorite lake or trying out a new painting technique.

That constant quest to try something new is exactly what led her to her newest adventure, opening a sister restaurant in Detroit Michigan. Concho Pearl Texas BBQ & Draft House will stay true to the original, but with some twists of its own to set it apart. The wood from Ashley’s grandma’s house is all gone, but a reclaimed bowling lane makes for a great bar top. And while barbeque is definitely on the menu, the new restaurant will feature Michigan cherries and an entree mac n’ cheese, two must-haves for the area.

Ashley isn’t done there. In the next five years she hopes to open other restaurants both in and out of San Angelo while she’s busy raising the next generation of restauranteurs. Her oldest son, Chef Declan as he’s called at The Pearl, already has plans to become a cowboy chef...or maybe an archaeologist...just like mom.

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