On Monday, May 4, demolition of a dilapidated and condemned home at 26001 Base Line was the first sign that a new business will soon take its place. Pat’s Place, a Louisiana soul food restaurant, is being built by Highland residents Jacqueline Robertson-Earthly and Patrick Earthly and is scheduled to open in May 2021.
Jacqueline said they’re opening the restaurant with the aim to replace blight with something that can be a point of pleasure and pride for the community.
“I’ve been out here in Highland for 30 years. I’ve seen the demographics change with higher density of blacks, yet there’s really no ethnic food available in that neighborhood,” Jacqueline said. “We want to have something in that community that can give pride in the community, not just for blacks but everyone.”
The Earthlys have been planning and working toward the project for years and are now ready to start building.
According to Jacqueline, the building had been empty for years and the house behind it on the same property had been a draw homeless and drug dealers.
Patrick said they have been working with the city and an architect for months and are now ready to begin construction on a new restaurant seating inside and in an outdoor patio.
While there have been a few delays since the state and county’s no public gathering orders, the Earthlys said the city of Highland has been excellent help in keeping the processes moving as best as possible.
“The city’s been very good at keeping in communication and working with us,” Jacqueline said.
While there was a delay when a Planning Commission meeting was canceled due to the county’s prohibition of public gatherings, the city continued other services by telephone and email and has since began to hold meetings via teleconference.
The city of Highland has continued most of its business and permitting services by telephone and email after closing city hall to the public, while other cities have halted such services as “non-essential.” In those cities this created significant hindrance for new businesses and development for what are already time-consuming processes.