Why would Joe Jerge want to become a partner in Sonny Reds?

“It has a special place in my heart,” Jerge said.

To Jerge coming in as a new/ "old” partner in Sonny Red’s - the popular Lackawanna restaurant best known for its chicken wings and pizza - was an act of “helping out an old friend.”

Sonny Reds, located at 1841 Abbott Rd., is at the heart of a real estate transaction that was completed on May 21 when construction industry veteran Tony Galbo - owner of the Galbo Group - bought the building, paying $345,000, according to documents filed in the Erie County Clerk's office.

The building had been owned by Sunset Realty WNY Inc., whose lead partner was Lackawanna businessman Edward Wocjik, according to county clerk’s records.
Sonny Red’s remains open.

READ MORE: 5 Most Underrated Pizza Places in Western New York

However, the restaurant’s co-founder, Justin Berends has taken on new partners that  include Jerge, Galbo and Brandon Berends - Justin’s brother.

Jerge, who owns and has run Mulberry Italian Ristorante at 84 Jackson Ave., Lackawanna for the past 19 years, said his role will be more of an advisory one to the Berends brothers. Jerge helped Justin Berends start Sonny Reds in 2017.

“My focus is still on Mulberry,” Jerge said. “But, I also saw this as an opportune time to step in and help Justin and his brother..”

Since its opening, Sonny Red’s has gained a strong local following - one that transcends Lackawanna - with its vast array of chicken wings and pizzas. Chicken wing sales account for nearly 65% of Sonny Reds’ sales.

“The bottom line is that I want Sonny Reds to succeed,” Jerge said.

Historic Church Being Repurposed in Buffalo, New York

A historic Linwood District church - one that dates back 152 years - has been sold and will soon find a new life as an apartment-anchored, mixed use development.

Gallery Credit: WNYREIS, HUNT Real Estate

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