Lynn Haven residents are packing some extra wet-naps as they head to dinner. A new Sonny's officially opened it's doors Wednesday on Highway 77 across from Wal-Mart. However, its opening is directly tied to a closing downtown Panama City business.
Sonny's Founder Sonny Tillman was on hand for the festivities in Lynn Haven.
"Just want people to eat, feel good about us, and tell their friends about us," Tillman said.
The building boasts a number improvements over the old location, including a brand new bar area. The old location was off Highway 390 and 23rd street for about 25 years.
Owner Wayne Lindsey says the move from the location was needed, and the opportunity was right.
"Lynn Haven is growing, and we're proud to be part of it," Lindsey said.
Lindsey says he's heard some gripes about the move, but Lynn Haven residents were more than happy to see the familiar Sonny's logo.
"Just happy that finally we got another restaurant in Lynn Haven," resident Tad Olmstead said.
"I was one of the first people to come here this morning, and this has been an excellent experience," said resident Betty Johnson Ross.
As Sonny's moves in, 'The Cheese Barn' is preparing to move out of Downtown Panama City.
"I'll miss my neighborhood," said Cheese Barn owner Robert Wright. "There's friends I've had there for years."
As he gets ready for the move to his new location, Wright says leaving is tough, but the numbers aren't adding up anymore.
"You have to go where there's money," Wright said. "There's no money to be made there and I hate it, but I had this opportunity come along when I was out looking for another place to be."
That place happens to be the old Sonny's location on Highway 390. Wright, who is friends with Lindsey, said both of the moves had a lot to do with economics.
"We understand the facets of this business, its a tough business," Wright said.
Downtown patrons are sad to hear the news, but happy that the 'Cheese Barn' is not going too far.
"If it's good food I'll follow it," resident Debbie Oglesby said as she finished up lunch at the restaurant.
The last day to eat at the Cheese Barn's current location is this Friday. Wright says he hopes to have the new location up and running by the end of the month.