Dawn of new dining experience

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2006

SUNBURY – A new era dawned last week in Sunbury.

C & A’s Chicken & BBQ (formerly Jimmy’s BBQ) opened in a brand new building next to the old restaurant.

“C & A’s is short for Cindy and Al,” said Cindy Lyons, C & A’s Chicken & BBQ owner. “The A is for my brother Al Gennarelli. He is a big part of this and without him this would not have happened.”

Lyons bought Jimmy’s BBQ six years ago and moved into the new building last Monday.

“It has been incredible so far,” Lyons said. “We have been full every day. People love the colors.”

A nearly full restaurant at 3:30 pm, traditionally a slow time for eateries, proved C & A’s popularity.

C & A’s Chicken and BBQ is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm. C & A’s continues to offer traditional favorites including Northeastern North Carolina barbecue, fried chicken and Cole slaw, but has added an assortment of new items.

“We have added pizza and strombolis to the menu,” Lyons said. “They have been big sellers.”

The pizza and strombolis are family recipes from Lyons’ sister-in-law who runs a restaurant in New York.

“Everything is homemade and fresh,” Lyons added. “We have homemade hush puppies.”

For the sweet tooth, C & A’s also offers root beer floats and banana splits.

C & A’s is the definition of a family business. Not only did Lyons’ brother Al play a major role in helping her get the new building constructed, her son and daughter also work in the restaurant.

“My son cooks the barbecue,” Lyons said. “It is a family oriented business.”

“There is no where else like this in Gates County,” Lyons said. “This place is totally unique.”

Lyons is teaming up with local schools and displaying pictures of their athletic teams, adding to the hometown feel of the restaurant. Lyons has also decorated the walls with pictures of old tractors, black and white photos from 1944 and pictures from Merchants Mill Pond.

“When people come into the restaurant many of them go straight to the pictures,” Lyons said.

Lyons has been involved in the restaurant business since she was 15 years old, starting out washing dishes and waiting tables. Lyons went to school for management and her hard work and experience paid off as she worked her way into a management position with a restaurant.

“I have been invested in the business for many years,” Lyons said.

Lyons moved to Gates County 14 years ago and had the opportunity to buy Jimmy’s BBQ six years ago and jumped at the chance.

“I learn something new every day,” Lyons said. “The most exciting part is when I can stand back and see the place is full and everyone is smiling.

“Our goal is to please every customer,” Lyons added. “There have been a lot of new customers and new faces since we opened.

“The community has supported me since day one,” Lyons continued. “They have been great.”

One of the toughest decisions Lyons made when opening the new restaurant was to close on Sundays, traditionally a big day for many restaurants.

“I made a spiritual decision to close on Sundays,” Lyons said. “I know for a fact that my God made this happen for me.

“I am trying my hardest to make it a Christian environment and closing on Sunday is a big part of that,” Lyons added. “I give all of the honor to him.”