Former Pizza Hut building will be new restaurant

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Batesville will soon have a new restaurant in the now-vacant building on Hwy. 6 that once housed Pizza Hut.

The new occupants, from Oxford, this week hung a sign in front of the building and will soon start a renovation to prepare for the opening of Costa Bar and Grill.

“We’re excited to have a new restaurant coming to Batesville,” said Mayor Hal Ferrell. “We look forward to their success and I can’t wait to try it. Let’s make Batesville all it can be. Welcome, Costa Bar and Grill.”

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Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar helped negotiate the deal, and said the business owners have signed a five-year lease agreement, intending to make a longterm investment in the community. He said the owners of Costa Bar and Grill communicated their belief the Batesville market will support another Mexican restaurant.

November 1978

“The Panola Partnership is actively recruiting restaurants to Panola County. There was tremendous interest in the Pizza Hut building since its closing. In fact, it was leased by a non-restaurant retailer until recently. Its new occupant timed it perfectly. We contribute this activity to the future NWCC skills training campus, The Concourse, and the additional campus location at our airport – at full enrollment will serve over 1,400 students annually. We say,  ‘Get ready, Panola County, we haven’t seen anything yet.’”

The Batesville Pizza Hut was built in 1978 by a partnership of businessmen that included Bob Dunlap, Henry Heafner, and James Whitaker, Sr. The property eventually became Whitaker property and was later owned by a family trust.

Pizza Hut was the first national franchise to open a store on what was then a lonely stretch of Hwy. 6. It was an attraction and dining destination for Panola Countians, and a welcome sight for travelers across North Mississippi.