Saturday, March 14, 2015

*Sigh* Nothing Stays the Same, I Know

"Sonny’s unveils its all-new look."

That would be Sonny's BBQ, my hometown barbecue joint. Hometown as in Gainesville, Florida. Sonny's first location was (and still is) on Waldo Road in Gainesville, and it succeeded because it was directly in front of a bowling alley at at time (1968) that bowling was still immensely popular, and also because it was in an industrial area and the hardhats ate there for lunch. Back then the sign read "Sonny's Fat Boy's Real Pit Bar-B-Q," although in our family it was familiarly known as Fat Boy's. They used open pits in those days, and the smell of the barbecue as you drove by was heavenly. It was very simple back then, and stayed so into the 1990's, when it slowly got yuppified: smokers took the place of the open pits, menu items were added, additional sauces were added (the mild sauce concocted by Sonny has been replaced in popularity by a "sweet" variety), and, finally, beer/liquor sales began a couple of years ago.

Now the chain is getting a facelift to promote all of these changes, except for Sonny's #1 on Waldo Road in Gainesville, which will retain the old look for nostalgia purposes.

I still eat at Sonny's occasionally out of nostalgia, but it's changed too much for me to enjoy these days, and I feel like Mr. Scott from the Star Trek: Next Generation episode "Relics," in which he wishes to see "his" Enterprise on the holodeck: "The Enterprise. NCC-1701, no bloody 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' or 'D.'"

Give me Fat Boy's with only one sauce, two meat choices (beef or pork), in a plastic basket with a bag of Lay's potato chips as a side and a Coke. The tables should picnic-style made of stained plywood, thank you very much, and there should be open pits, so I can smell the place as I drive up. While I'm at it I want the blond hair I had in 1968.

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