Laurel City Council votes to approve new café despite concerns

Laurel City Council votes to approve new café despite concerns
Shugga Shack cafe approved for opening. Photo credit WDAM

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The Shugga Shack Cafe in Laurel now has permission to open after the city council voted 5-2 during Tuesday's city council meeting. The cafe, which is located on Chantilly St., will feature live entertainment.

The cafe would be open until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and would stay open later on Friday and Saturday.

The planning commission does not allow live entertainment in certain commercial areas. The commission expressed concerns over what they say is a "hazard to the City of Laurel" during a special hearing during the city council meeting.

"The whole commission voted against it. We do not want it," said Jimmy Bunch, a member of the planning commission.

Opposition to the cafe also included Police Chief Tyrone Stewart. Stewart called the business a "club," and addressed the council with his concerns about "loud music and alcohol."

Business owner Sheila Jones reiterated that her business is not a club, and it won't attract a violent audience.

"The club will be 30 years of age and up. We want to draw an older crowd," said Jones. "We'll be able to control what happens in our facility. If we see that someone has had too much to drink, it's up to us to insure their safety and well-being, as well as other people on their way home."

Both parties spoke to residents around the area. Some were for the cafe, and others were against it. WDAM spoke to one anonymous homeowner about the business. He fully supports the Shugga Shack Cafe.

"It's going to be for the older folks. I don't know why anybody would have a problem with it," said the homeowner.

The Shugga Shack is still under construction, but Jones is ready for the challenge.

"We're here to prove everybody wrong. Actions speak louder than words, and we're very excited to see everyone at our establishment," said Jones.