A dining destination for the working man

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 25, 2019

Popular area drive-in expanding to Landrum

LANDRUM — Foothills residents hungry for some of Spartanburg’s most iconic hotdogs will soon have a smaller drive ahead of them to satisfy their craving.

The owners of Hub City’s popular Boots’ & Sonny’s Drive-In announced this month that they will soon open a second location in Landrum, at the former Kent’s Restaurant, which closed earlier this month. The brother-sister duo of Clay Clayton and Libby Carson have already begun initial renovations to the restaurant, located at 328 S. Howard Ave., Landrum, in hopes of opening sometime in mid-March, Clayton said.

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Longtime customers of Boots’ & Sonny’s restaurant in downtown Spartanburg can expect the same familiar tastes at the Landrum location, including the kitchen’s signature hot dogs, served with the Clayton family’s trademark chili sauce. Other popular menu items include the house-made slaw, onion rings, corn muffins and vegetable soup, along with other American fare, such as burgers, chicken strips and milkshakes.

“We want families to come up here [to Landrum] and spend an evening getting dinner,” Clayton said. “They can enjoy some good food without having to spend half their paycheck.”

The owners also plan to offer a breakfast menu at the Landrum location, with the kitchen whipping up eggs and bacon, pancakes and other simple yet hardy morning favorites, Clayton said. The two also plan to install new signs, lighting, dining booths and a  drive-thru window at the second location, though they plan to keep much of the charm the old Kent’s Restaurant — which is only slightly smaller than the Spartanburg Boots’ & Sonny’s — was known for, Clayton said.

The second location is closer to home for the business owner, who lives in Green Creek and attends church in Landrum, he said.

Around six months ago, members of Clayton’s church told him that the owners of Kent’s were looking to sell and that another Boots’ & Sonny’s would be a perfect fit for the space, Clayton said. After checking out the location for himself, he concurred, and he and his sister set the wheels in motion to eventually take over the Landrum restaurant.

Carson and Clayton are third-generation restaurant owners, taking over the Spartanburg restaurant from their parents, whom the restaurant is named after (Sonny, their father, and Boots, after their mother’s nickname). Their grandfather, Paul Clayton, first opened the restaurant as a small Tastee Freeze in 1962, with their grandmother, Edith, creating a chili recipe for the menu that is still used to this day.

Today, the current owners are training the fourth generation of their family to help run the business, with Clay’s daughter, Olivia, and Carson’s children, Cam and Drew, all pitching in with various duties at the Spartanburg restaurant. Clay himself is looking to scale back his responsibilities in order to give the younger members of the clan a more hands-on role in running the establishment, he said.

“We’re setting them up for the future, the same way [my sister and I] were,” Clay said. “We want them to continue the legacy my family left for me.”

Since he and his daughter announced that Boots’ & Sonny’s was coming to Landrum, the response on social media has been tremendous, with Facebook users sharing a post announcing the opening nearly 600 times as of Thursday afternoon.

“I was overwhelmed,” Clayton said. “[The response] has been really exciting. I can’t wait to get started.”

Those interested in learning more may visit bootsandsonnys.com.