By Holly Linford
Iron County Today
With a trademark infringement on the restaurant name Heather Allen, Sonny Boys Barbecue owner, is changing the name to Charlie’s to add a personal feel to the business that means so much to her.
Allen said she picked Charlie’s, because her grandfather that passed away two years ago was named Charlie.
“When I was thinking about changing the name, I wanted to change it to something that meant something to me,” she said. “He was an influential part of my life.”
Allen said there is a restaurant back east with the Sonny Boy’s name, but she said it felt like the right time to change the name anyway to get a fresh start since she has been running the business on her own since September after splitting from her husband.
“I decided it was a good time to rebrand,” she said. “I’m not changing anything else. It will be the same menu, same people, and same cooking methods.”
Mary Siemers, the morning shift lead said she has been working with Allen since September.
Siemers said she is excited about the name change because it means that Allen gets to show that the place is truly hers.
“This place is Heather’s baby,” she said. “This is her life, and the name really showcases that. I’m excited that she gets this fresh start.”
Tasha Kamachi, an employee of Allen’s, said she thinks the name change will be fun.
“People will have questions about it and it’ll be fun to explain to people why we went this direction,” she said.
Trevor Casperson, a Cedar City resident said he’s new to the town and has found a love for Sonny Boy’s.
Casperson said he feels like the name change is a good move.
“I like the change,” he said. “It’s shorter and easier to remember. Plus, it has a personal feel to it because the name means something to Heather personally.”
Siemers said her favorite part about working at the restaurant is meeting all of the people.
“I love the interaction with people,” she said. “I love seeing the happy people because food makes people happy.”
Siemers said she wants the community to know they really get to know the people that come into the restaurant.
“We’re not a chain, and so that makes it easier for us to get to know whoever comes in,” she said. “We like to make people family. We’re like to know who people are and why they come in.”
Allen said she and her ex-husband started the business six years ago when they moved to Cedar City and realized that Cedar didn’t have a barbecue spot in town. They had owned a barbecue spot in Provo for a couple of years before they moved to Cedar City.
Allen said barbecue was the first job she ever had, and has been specializing in making barbecue for over a decade since she started when she was just 16 years old.
Allen said the restaurant specializes in brisket and has won best in state for five years in a row.
Allen said the brisket is her favorite, though they have other good meats too like pulled pork, turkey and more.
Allen said they also have what’s called frycho, which she said is the most popular item on the menu.
“It has fries, barbecue sauce, meat and cheese,” she said. “It’s delicious. It took me a long time to try it because it’s unhealthy, but it is so worth it.”
Siemers said her favorite item on the menu isn’t actually on the menu. It’s smothered mashed potatoes, which she said is frycho only with mashed potatoes.
“We have a secret menu like in-and-out,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun to have people come in and order things on our secret menu.”
Allen said this community has meant a lot to her, and she has enjoyed sharing her passion with Cedar City.
“We’ve had a lot of important family events happen here,” she said. “There have been so many wonderful things that have happened here. There are customers here I’ll be friends with for life.”
Allen said she feels like Cedar City has really found a love for barbecue.
“People are buying smokers and doing their own thing in their own backyards,” she said. “People will come in and ask me how I make my brisket. The barbecue community is open to sharing its secrets, and it’s just fantastic.”
Allen said she is excited about moving forward and continuing to be a part of the community, and continuing to make good product.
“We care about our product and about our customers,” she said. “We care about the experience they have. I’m constantly looking to improve.”
Casperson said Cedar City residents should consider coming out to the restaurant.
“It’s nice and quaint,” he said. “If you want good authentic barbecue, it’s the place to go. It’s my favorite place in southern Utah.”
PHOTO by Holly Linford
Caption: Sonny Boy’s Barbecue staff: From left to right Sean Armistead, Tasha Karachi, Mary Beth Siemens, Heather Allen, Victoria Matthews, Talise Mosley, Alissa Vasant and Nathan Baker.