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After 38 years, Sonny's BBQ closes on Jacksonville's Southside

Signs posted Tuesday on the restaurant's front doors and elsewhere thanked customers but offered no explanation for the closure.
Credit: Teresa Stepzinski, Florida Times-Union
Sonny's BBQ, 5097 University Blvd. W, on Jacksonville's Southside has closed after nearly 40 years.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The main marque was missing and the dining room was empty Tuesday except for workers who could be seen through the front windows cleaning and clearing out the red barn-like building.

After 38 years  in business, Sonny's BBQ at 5097 University Blvd. W. closed its doors for good on Sunday.

Signs posted on the restaurant's front doors and elsewhere thanked customers but offered no explanation for the closure.

Each sign said the same:

"Attention Guests:

Sorry, we can't satisfy your craving for BBQ today ...This location has closed after many wonderful years of serving BBQ slathered in Southern hospitality.

Thank you for your support over the years!

We look forward to servin' you at another Sonny's BBQ which you can find at SonnysBBQ.com."

One of those guests was Darnell Sassar, who wanted an early lunch at the restaurant only to find it closed.

"It's a shame. A crying shame. I hate it when folks lose their jobs," he said.

Sonny's had operated at that location since 1983. But that ended this week.

"The franchise owner decided to close this location," a company representative  said in an email to the Times-Union on Tuesday. But Sonny's development team is searching for other potential Jacksonville-area sites, she said.

With the closing, Sonny's has four remaining Jacksonville-area restaurants: 1923 Lane Ave. S., 12484 San Jose Blvd. and 12719 Atlantic Blvd. in Jacksonville; and 1976 Kingsley Ave. in Orange Park, the company's website shows.

The spokeswoman said some employees from the closed restaurant have transferred to other area Sonny's locations.

Founded in 1968, Sonny's is headquartered in Maitland and has about 113 restaurants nationwide, according to company data.

Click here to read more from The Florida Times-Union