A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning for the new location of the Terrebonne ARC (TARC) Restaurant & Gift Shop, now named the Bayou Country Café.
Located at 117 Moffet Road in Houma, the spacious state-of-the-art cafe features more seating capacity, retail space for TARC products, a pickup window and a banquet room as well as an expanded menu.
Mary Lynn Bisland, Executive Director of TARC, emphasized the increased employment opportunities the new restaurant will bring for local residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“It’s all about jobs,” she said after the ceremony, which was attended by TARC Board of Directors, Terrebonne Parish elected officials and other members of the community.
“It’s about meaningful work. It’s about them being able to make a minimum wage or more,” she continued. “It’s for the people that we serve.”
Bisland went on to say that TARC serves around 130 people who are employed, with another group of about 50 waiting to reenter the workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic ends due to health concerns.
Bayou Country Café has been a long-term goal for TARC since 2007, Bisland said. She said it was put on the back burner as other projects required funds, such as a new community home, and the organization focused on getting its members working in the community through different avenues. In 2018, TARC started to put money in the budget for the restaurant, Bisland said, and the project began in February of last year.
In addition to its restaurant, TARC provides an array of job opportunities through its various other businesses, including its popular “Houma Grown” brand’s salsas and pepper jellies that are featured in around 30 grocery stores from Houma to New Orleans.
“Everything we do is a real business,” Bisland said. “But it’s the business of people with intellectual disabilities. Without them, we wouldn’t have all of this — because that’s the whole focus.”
See pictures of Bayou Country Café below: