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Sonny’s BBQ in Fort Myers shut its doors for the last time Dec. 31.  

Out with the old, in with the new. Within the next couple of weeks, the restaurant at 5590 Winkler Road, just north of College Parkway, will reopen as Mitchell’s Barbecue.  

Terry Mitchell, who is from Kissimmee by way of his native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will operate it. He said he’s retaining the entire management and staff of 42 employees from Sonny’s. He does not have an exact opening date yet, but he said he is aiming for the end of January.  

Mitchell also is bringing back a salad bar, which was something Sonny’s eliminated when the COVID-19 pandemic began.  

“We’ll have ribs, baby back, chicken, and we’re bringing catfish and shrimp,” said Mitchell, 60. “We’ll have white cheddar mac and cheese.” 

Mitchell has worked in the restaurant industry before, but this will be his first self-owned restaurant.  

“I just felt like giving it a shot,” he said. “I didn’t want to get five years from now and think, ‘What if?’ It’s a great location, right off College Parkway.”  

Crews have been repainting and cleaning the building.  

“For 36 years, Sonny’s BBQ has had the pleasure of serving the great community of Fort Myers,” said Tiffany Jackson, on behalf of Sonny’s. “The franchise owner decided to permanently close this location effective Friday, Dec. 31. Sonny’s BBQ thanks Fort Myers for all of the love and support it has shown us since the restaurant’s opening in 1985.”  

The closest Sonny’s to Fort Myers are now in Clewiston and Sarasota.

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