Megan Blevins and Michael Howard, scions of the Pat's Place and Randy's Restaurant families, respectively, plan to open a new family restaurant of their own in the old Randy's location. Oh. And get married.
The bad news first:
The Dade County dining-out scene took a blow to the belly earlier this year when Randy’s Restaurant closed down after 32 years of serving everything from steaks to pizza. But as a certain W. Shakespeare said, “When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions,” and Dade suffered a second assault of gastronomic bad news this week as Pat’s Place on Lookout Mountain closed its own doors on Monday.
Pat’s Place had opened only a year ago last March, but its proprietress, Pat Greene, was a veteran restaurateur who had for years run a similar meat-and-three/short order operation further south on Lookout, where her signature “Patburger” had already garnered local fame. Pat’s Place immediately became a popular eatery, and lately had added live music and karaoke to its weekend lineup.
But in the midst of its apparent growth, Pat’s Place last weekend abruptly announced its immediate closure. Pat’s husband, Bruce Greene, contacted by phone on Wednesday, said it was not a lease issue that brought operations to this screeching halt but inadequate septic arrangements.
“There’s not enough land for field lines for the amount of water we were using,” he said.
Greene said, though, that the restaurant had not been shut down by the Dade Health Department. “We decided to close ourselves before it became an issue,” he said.
(Greene works for Mayfield Dairy Farms but family restaurants have a way of sucking in family, and though Greene minimized his role at Pat’s Place--“I take out the garbage and stuff”--he was knee-deep in the restaurant's move from the Lookout Mountain location as he spoke with The Planet.)
Anyway. Now for the good news: The Greenes have announced that Pat’s granddaughter, Megan Blevins, will open a new restaurant in partnership with Michael Howard, grandson of Randy and Janice Howard, owners of Randy’s Restaurant. The new restaurant will open in the old Randy’s premises at the corner of 136 West and Back Valley Road.
And The Planet does not use the term “partnership” lightly; Megan and Michael have announced their intention to wed.
The young folks have set no date for their nuptials, said Bruce Greene--they want to get the restaurant up and running before they plan any other big projects--but they do have a target opening date for the eatery. “They’re shooting for July 1,” said Greene.
Greene said he was unsure of the affianced pair’s financial arrangements with the elder Howards about the Randy’s building, but he believed they would be leasing it for the time being.
What will the new restaurant be called? Not “Pat’s” and not “Randy’s,” said Greene, but other than that he had no clue. “All that stuff is still in the works,” he said.
So is the menu. Pat Greene announced on the Pat’s Place Facebook page that she and her staff will be working at the valley location, and that diners can expect to see some of their favorite menu selections in the new restaurant. Her husband confirmed that Pat would definitely be playing a role. “She’ll have a lot to do with it, but it’s going to be Michael and Megan running the show,” he said.
The prospective restaurateurs are young--both 19, says Greene--but that is not to say they are lacking in restaurant know-how. Megan Blevins (pictured here with Pat Greene from a Planet article in May 2016) has worked for Pat’s Place since her grandmother opened it last year. Michael Howard, said Bruce Greene, worked like all the Howard children and grandchildren extensively at Randy’s through the years.
Family members did not immediately reply to The Planet’s emailed supplemental question as to whether the new restaurant will seek to serve alcoholic beverages of any sort, as permitted by Dade's 2016 referendum; but given the elder Howards’ pronounced disinclination toward doing so, and the disqualifying youth of the prospective proprietors, the immediate answer in any case seems foregone.
To extrapolate further: Given the fame of the "Patburger," and given Randy's signature megaburgers, up to the 3-pound model served on a specially-baked bun the size of a garbage can lid, it does seem safe to predict that hamburgers will figure somewhere on the new restaurant's menu.
Thus two Dade restaurant families unite to form a new family restaurant in Dade, and two restaurant closures seem set to culminate in a new opening. Or, as Mr. S. put it: “All’s well that ends well.”
The Planet will follow this story with some avidity.