Former station may become site of new eatery

Published 9:04 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

Former station may become site of new eatery


By John Howell
City officials approved a request Tuesday that could allow Christopher Jones to remodel into a restaurant the old service station building at 152 Public Square across the street from the courthouse.
Jones made the request for the newly-created Mayor and Board of Aldermen Permit (MBAP) that gives the city stricter control for uses of buildings on the Public Square and its approaches. During questions from the mayor and aldermen Jones said that he was seeking the permit before proceeding with plans to purchase the building from current owner Chesley Pratt.
“I wanted to make sure I could actually open the restaurant before I placed any bids on the property,” Jones said.
Pratt said Thursday that she had been made aware that Jones had planned to make his presentation to the city but that she had not yet been contacted with an offer.
Jones said that the venture would be a “sit-down” restaurant and bar with an outside patio for dining.
“Is this your first experience with a restaurant?” One alderman asked.
“It’s my first experience, but I have plenty of experience coming with me he replied.
Jones said that he is a native of Senatobia and has worked throughout Batesville for a phone company.
“I don’t think anybody on the board wants to turn this down at all,” Alderman Stan Harrison said. “This is the first time we’ve dealt with this,” he continued, referring to the new MBAP district, “so we’re just a little bit cautious.”
Alderman Bill Dugger said that he was concerned about the bar hours and outside activity connected with a patio.
Code Administrator Pam Comer said that downtown businesses are required to close at midnight. Jones said access to the patio would be restricted.
“In other words, you’re going to put up a fence and if they get ready to leave, they have to go back out?” Alderman Ted Stewart asked.
“They have to come through the business. There’s no in or out through the patio area,” Jones replied.
The would-be restaurateur said that he would seek agreement with the owner of the funeral home next door and not allow outside activity during funerals or visitation times.
After the discussion that continued for almost one-half hour, aldermen voted unanimously to grant the requested permit contingent on Jones’ consummation of the property’s purchase, his return to the city board for approval of the building’s design and a restriction on outside activity during funeral visitations.

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