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The restaurant’s menu will be the same Cajun, Creole and American items and plate lunches but also offer prepackaged foods that will be sold frozen or cold. 

It’s not just a restaurant that Earnest Brown has in mind when he talks about what he plans to open in the former Reggie’s Soul Food space.

Brown, the New Orleans native who opened Brown Skillet last year at 1011 E. University Ave. in a space shared by a gas station, will open a second location at 519 S. Pierce St. possibly by Dec. 1 and turn it into not just a restaurant but also a market that will also serve as a community meeting space.

Kind of like the Hurst Family Restaurant in Kenner, a place where Brown said his father would visit every Friday for a plate lunch and end up spending over an hour speaking with other customers there. Or similar to his Brown Skillet he started in St. Martinville before selling it and moving to Lafayette.

Brown got approval to lease the space from the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority during its meeting last week.

“If you’re from New Orleans, it’s commonplace,” he said. “It’s a one-stop shop in the community where you find a lot of people who walk and live in the community.

“At my other restaurant, I had folks come in on Saturdays just to get breakfast. Right there in the lobby you would have a family reunion. It was awesome for me, but it was something in New Orleans that was totally commonplace.”

The restaurant’s menu will be the same Cajun, Creole and American items and plate lunches but also offer prepackaged foods that will be sold frozen or cold, he said. It will offer some basic items like flour, bread, rice and milk.

Another new item will be a 24-inch poboy, he said.

The new venture, Brown noted, is happening after his restaurant weathered the COVID-19 shutdown earlier this year as best it could. 

How did he plan for that? Brown is from New Orleans, after all. He bounced between working in Baton Rouge and New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.

Staffed by family members, the restaurant remained closed for 31 days. When it reopened, he opened a drive-thru window and connected with delivery services to get business going.

“I think being in the business for 31 years, I’ve seen just about everything, right?” he said. “When we saw this coming down the pike, I started strategically saying, ‘We need to do something different.’ In New Orleans, when a hurricane comes, you close for a week or close for a month. Just deal with it and bob and weave.”

Acadiana Business Today: Brown Skillet to open second location in former Reggie's space downtown


Email Adam Daigle at adaigle@theadvocate.com.