Nearly two years after purchasing one of Statesboro’s most iconic restaurants, R.J.’s Grill and saving it from closing, owner Stacy Underwood has decided to change directions with the restaurant.
Underwood also owns the wildly popular Uncle Shug’s Chicken Barn at the bypass and Highway 301 and Uncle Shug’s BBQ Place in Brooklet. He believes it is time to bring R.J.’s Grill into the Uncle Shug’s family.
On Sunday, July 1, R.J.’s Grill will close and four days later on July 5, the revamped, retooled and rebranded “Uncle Shug’s on Main” will reopen. The goal is to combine the most popular items of the three restaurants into one location in the new Uncle Shug’s on Main.
“Randy had tweaked the concept of R.J.’s before I purchased it,” Underwood said. “Over the past two years we have made gradual changes and continued talking with our loyal client’s at all three restaurants to see what they would like to see in the downtown location.
“Randy has remained very involved in the restaurant and agrees it is time to change directions. He has been wonderfully supportive and will continue to be a big part of Uncle Shug’s on Main as we move forward. In addition, the same great staff, many of whom have worked here for decades, will continue to be a valuable part of our team.”
James Fraley has been named the new general manager and will oversee the retooling and daily operations of the restaurant.
In addition to lightening and freshening up the interior and localizing it with memorabilia, photographs and artwork, Shug’s will be reintroduce the line service with the addition of a cafeteria style buffet.
The expanded buffet will include a great blue plate selection along with some of the more popular items from the R.J.’s menu and the other Uncle Shug’s locations, including chicken fingers.
R.J.’s best sellers like their hand cut USDA Steaks and fresh from the ocean shrimp still will be available by order through the line.
The restaurant will return to being open every day of the week. Monday through Friday they will open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and reopen from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday they will be open all day and continue with the popular Saturday breakfast buffet. Sunday they will open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., serving the famous Sunday buffet. The Saturday and Sunday buffets will continue to be set up in the middle of the restaurant.
Shug’s on Main will continue to offer meeting space and set those meetings up with their own buffets to allow entrance into the meetings directly from the rear of the building, without having to go through the line.
Outside catering and providing great meeting space inside the restaurant will continue to be a big part of their business. Civic and business organizations they cater to on a weekly or regular basis and who meet at the restaurant weekly or regularly will notice no change.
Uncle Shug’s Chicken Barn and Uncle Shug’s BBQ Place will continue normal operations. This addition and change will not affect them in any way.
Stacy is committed to providing the same quality that clients have come to love with R.J.’s including locally sourced and the freshest products available.
“We have listened to what our customers like and don’t like about all the changes over the years,” Underwood said. “We hope that everyone will return and give us another shot at being their favorite place to dine in the Boro for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Making the Blue Mile Great Again has been a commitment and focus of Underwood’s since he saved R.J.s from closing. It is an important part of our community’s history and vital to have a successful restaurant on the Blue Mile. I am impressed with Stacy’s tenacity and commitment to do what it takes to not only be successful, but to create an environment and concept that will create a customer experience second to none.
I look forward to giving the “new” Uncle Shug’s on Main a try and feel certain this fresh new start will be a positive one.