Barbecue and brisket soon will replace hot dogs and limeade at a drive-through fast-food restaurant in Martinez.
Before closing one of his Sonic restaurants on Furys Ferry Road near The Pass on Dec. 31, Augusta Sonic franchisee Rick McMurtrey made plans to open his own restaurant in its place.
“There are concepts out there that we think are better suited to use this building for than Sonic,” said McMurtrey, who operates 12 Sonic restaurants.
On Thursday, McMurtrey will open Roadhouse Rib Palace.
McMurtrey has spent about a month remodeling the former Sonic, which was open for about five years.
The Furys Ferry Road Sonic didn’t have the traditional drive-in setup. Instead, it offered customers a sit-down dining area.
“People just never understood that you could actually come in, sit down and eat versus coming through the drive-through,” McMurtrey said.
The restaurant will be able to accommodate more than 60 customers in the dining room and 30 on the patio, he said.
Roadhouse’s menu will offer a variety of barbecue sandwiches and plates. Diners can choose from pulled pork or chicken, ribs, brisket and smoked sausage.
The restaurant will employ 12 people and serve from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Two special dishes at the Roadhouse are barbecue tacos, and a loaded baked potato topped with any two meats and smothered in baked beans.
“We’re going to have a chipotle fried chicken strip that is just phenomenal,” he said, adding that a few unique menu options – “in addition to great barbecue” – will differentiate the Roadhouse from other restaurants.
McMurtrey, who opened his first Sonic in 1993, said the Roadhouse has been in the works for nearly three years.
He said he considered bringing in a chain, such as Shane’s Rib Shack or Sticky Fingers, but decided against it.