Sonny’s, an Adams Corner landmark, closes; new owners plan makeover

Richard Elia and Matthew Elia

Sonny’s ­– the longtime Adams Corner bar and eatery run by three generations of the Elia family – closed its doors abruptly on Oct. 26 after it was sold to new buyers. Richard Elia, the son of founder and namesake ‘Sonny’ Elia told the Reporter this week that the new owners— whom he named as David Arrowsmith and Martin Davis— intend to immediatly begin a major renovation of the property at 750 Adams St.

“They’re going to do the whole place over,” explained Elia, who ran the business with his son, Matthew. “They’re taking down walls, a new ceiling, sliding windows.”

“The place is doing well and I told these guys, ‘you’ve got a great clientele.’ They decided to go in swinging hammers.”

A deal to sell the business last year fell through after environmental testing revealed contamination beneath the building, the result of a prior use as a dry cleaner. Elia said that he spent more than $72,000 to mitigate those concerns.

After working in the business that his father started 49 years ago, the elder Elia said it was time to move on. “The top reason for us wanting to get out is that in a business like that with two partners who work close together— and being family— it tends to destroy whatever personal relationship I’d have with my son. I could see it because I’ve lived through it. I love my son. I would have failed if it wasn’t for him,” said Elia.

Some customers and former staff— who were given three weeks severance, according to Elia— are upset because Sonny’s was one of few local pubs left that offered patrons an affordable, no frills option in the neighborhood.

“Some are bitter because they have no place to go to drink their beer, but mostly they’re just sad that we’re gone,” said Elia. “I made a lot of personal sacrifices. I missed birthdays and births. I’m going to enjoy life.”