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Popular Tex-Mex eatery will be open on Sundays

Larry’s Giant Subs on Hwy. 84 in Blackshear closed their doors a few weeks ago, but the building won’t sit empty long. Local developers Brian Smith and Doug Puryear announced this week they will open Surcheros Fresh Grill, a Tex-Mex franchise, at that location in July.

Smith and Puryear aren’t strangers to the Surcheros franchise. Their partnership (SAP) has built three restaurants in Brunswick, Valdosta and Hinesville since 2017 and is currently building in Statesboro and Savannah. The Statesboro location will be the first free standing Surcheros  — all others are located in strip mall storefronts. Blackshear’s Surcheros will also be one of the first free standing restaurants.

The Tex-Mex chain is typically closed on Sundays, and while corporate stores maintain that policy, franchisees are experimenting with Sunday hours. Puryear confirmed Monday the Blackshear location will be open on Sundays.

The two Blackshear natives love Surcheros Fresh Grill and have discussed bringing the brand to their hometown for months.

“Our families love Surcheros as much as everybody’s family does,” Puryear says. “Our love for the brand … It just makes sense to bring it to your hometown. We love Blackshear.”

But, the men realized the restaurant chain would have concerns about a franchise so close to the Waycross corporate store (9.8 miles), so they focused on developing Surcheros in coastal cities first. They’ve been reviewing financials and evaluating local demand for nearly a year.

“We had to go out there and earn our stripes first ... We felt that with what growth we had offered to the brand we could continue that growth into our hometown,” Puryear says. “He (Surcheros owner Luke Christian) was for it and wished us well,” Puryear says.  

Surcheros fans can expect the same menu and dining experience in Blackshear as at other locations. The local restaurant will have a pick-up window, but not a full scale drive-thru.

“The future is online ordering,” Puryear explains.

The exterior of the old Larry’s building won’t change much  — the color scheme is already in keeping with Surcheros branding, but serving lines and customer seating inside will be redesigned. Smith and Puryear met with an architect Monday.

And, Surcheros will employ 10-15 people, a slight increase from the 8-9 employees SAP hired to run Larry’s Giant Subs.

Puryear says the decision to close Larry’s in order to open Surcheros was a tough one to make.

“We were torn about what we should do with Larry’s. We loved Larry’s … We had a very good staff at Larry’s and hated to lose them,” he says.

Employees were given the opportunity to work at Huddle House in Blackshear, SAP’s first business endeavor.

SAP was formed five or six years ago when Smith approached Puryear about reopening the Blackshear Huddle House. Smith’s background prior to their partnership was in running Hardee’s franchises and Puryear was in medical sales.

The two partners, and their families, love the Surcheros franchise, and are banking on a shared excitement among Pierce County residents to make their newest location a success.

“Surcheros is what we want to do long term,” Puryear says. “It’s our favorite place to eat in the world.”