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Controversial drive-thru coffee shop gets the green light to brew in the Bay — again

This is the architect’s rendering of the Creole Creamery and PJ’s Coffee planned for Bay St. Louis.
This is the architect’s rendering of the Creole Creamery and PJ’s Coffee planned for Bay St. Louis. Harry Baker Smith Architects File

A coffee shop project shut down by the city because it didn't comply with Department of Interior standards is back on track.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History in a letter this week said it, architect Hank Smith and property owner Jim MacPhaille came up with a compromise that satisfied MDAH and Interior.

The biggest change made was to the drive-thru, which already was the subject of criticism from people who said the middle of a walkable downtown was no place for a drive-thru coffee shop.

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"In this case, the architect has modified the original plan to locate a window (that could be utilized as a drive-through window) in a new addition on the rear of the historic structure and designed it to resemble the existing windows of the historic structure (rather than the appearance of a strip-development's fast-food drive through)," wrote Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Kenneth H. P'Pool. "The location of the drive-through would follow the bed of the property's driveway, which has obviously been in existence for decades. Therefore, MDAH has determined that a drive-through window, as presently designed, complies with the Standards for Rehabilitation."

Those standards were adopted by the city in 2008 as it accepted grants to help repair downtown buildings.

McPhaille plans a PJ's Coffee and Creole Creamery at the Main Street location. PJ's, founded in New Orleans in 1979, also has locations in Gulfport and Picayune.

Friday, he said work has resumed on the shop but he didn't say when he planned to open.

McPhaille, when he announced plans to build the coffee shop in January, had planned to be open sometime in March.