Alexander J. “Sonny” Elia, who owned and operated the eponymous Adams Corner bar and restaurant for close to six decades, died this week at age 88 after a brief illness.
Mr. Elia was a fixture in Dorchester beginning in 1968 when he bought an Adams Street bar then known as Amaru’s Café. Prior to that, Elia and his extended family ran a popular luncheonette in the South End called The Colonial. In a 1999 interview with the Reporter, Sonny recalled that the Adams Corner business proved so challenging that he initially regretted the decision to buy it and attempted to sell it back to the Amaru family.
“But within two or three years I could see it progressing, because of what I put out of here,” Mr. Elia told the Reporter. The business expanded in the 1970s, taking over space left vacant when Glynn Cleaners re-located across the street. Sonny later sold the business to his son, Richard, who still runs the popular bar and restaurant that bears his dad’s name.
“I just love the area and the neighborhood period,” Mr. Elia told the Reporter in ’99. “These people here were just great.”
In addition to Richard, Mr. Elia leaves his wife Patricia, sons John and Dennis and daughters Diane and Anastasia and their families.
Mr. Elia will be waked from O’Connor’s Funeral Home in Adams Corner today from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. His funeral Mass will be said on Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Brendan’s with burial to follow at Blue Hill Cemetery.