Phat Boyz Pizza fills Black-owned void in North Baton Rouge

Being the only Black-owned pizza business in Baton Rouge is a handicap and a blessing, according to Armand Sonnier, owner of Phat Boyz Pizza.

Since the closure of the local Pizza Hut chain owned by Lundy Enterprises, Sonnier is now the sole minority pizza vendor.

He said many people are hesitant to try his pizza because they are not used to Black ownership.

“They always think that the pizzeria belongs to Whites only,” he said. Bearing a name many know as the acronym for “pretty, hot and tempting,” one bite into the PhatBoyz’s extra large specialty would change their hesitancy into addiction.

In fact, Sonnier’s customer base is steadily increasing with many repeat customers.

For nearly 30 years, Sonnier has been in the pizza-making business, starting as a driver for Domino’s Pizza. He also waxed floors for extra income.customers who love his pizza.

Over the years, his appreciation for the pizza business grew. One day while on the job, he picked up Pizza Today magazine and came across a pizza oven priced at $10,000. At the time, he was making enough money to afford the oven. He decided to start his own business and work for himself. Once he left Domino’s, he began laying out plans to become an owner in the pizza business

His main objective for Phat Boyz, he said, is to provide affordable pizza, using quality ingredients, and to provide delivery to communities throughout North Baton Rouge.

Sonnier and his staff make their own dough, buy products from local distributors, and make a special blend of sauces and topping combinations to appeal to customers. “We do everything ourselves,” he said.

Armand Sonnier ,owner, phat boyz
Armand Sonnier ,owner, Phat Boyz

Competition with other pizza establishments is not the primary focus for Sonnier because his business is independent.

He is focused on providing customers with quality pizza at an affordable price. He used his own money to fund the building they are using to operate the pizza business. His fiancé, Carolyn Haymond, children, and grandchildren help with the business.   According to him, customers are looking for a good place at a fairly decent price. He says that these are the reasons why the pizzeria has continued moving forward.

Sonnier’s other objective for this pizzeria was to make his pizza available to communities including Glen Oaks, Southern Heights and Zion City. He felt it was not right that other establishments refuse to deliver to certain areas throughout Baton Rouge.

wingsHe has dealt with many startup difficulties including equipment failure and lack of knowledge of state laws in the beginning stages of the business.  Throughout the tribulations, he has learned to stay up with certain things such as employee forms, taxes, and laws that were discovered. Sonnier put his all towards not only his pizza designs, but he also strives to makes sure that his customers are satisfied with what they order. He isn’t worried much about being the only Black- owned pizza place in Baton Rouge. He would rather have the people recognize him for his work rather than for being a Black business owner in a predominately White industry.

Phat Boyz is located at  9186 Greenwell Springs Rd . It is  open Mon. – Fri., 10am – midnight and onWeekends 10am – 10pm and delivery orders can be placed by calling (225) 923-3433. ONLINE: http://www.phatboyzpizzabr.com/

 By James Teague
Contributing Writer

This article was originally published in The Drum newspaper June 13,2014

3 Comments

  1. Teenagers usually have two main food groups: French Fries and Hamburgers. Oh yeah, you can’t forget the third food group, Pizza. So, I was very happy when I was given the chance to eat Phat Boys Meat Pizza (pepperoni, bacon, and sausage). I was a little hesitant to try Phat Boys Pizza, because I’ve never heard of the place, but they easily proved me wrong! Phat Boys pizza was one of the best pizzas I have had in a LONG TIME? We got the extra large pizza which was only $6.99 and let me tell you it was HUGE! I think we scored a very tasty deal! The dough on the pizza was soft and seasoned to perfection! The meat was plentiful and deliciously cooked and the sauce was so good! This pizza was a teenager’s fantasy! (I actually pigged out and had three slices). I highly recommend Phat Boys as one of the hot spots to eat pizza because of the taste and the value. I know I will be a frequent visitor because I enjoyed eating their meat pizza.

  2. Today was my first experience with Phats Pizza, I had heard a lot about this place, but found out for myself tasting is believing. I had the shrimp/spinach/Italian sausage pizza and I am in love. The crust remind me of the yeast rolls we had in school.Soft buttery delicious. I give my full support. I had no problems with parking or service and will instead be a return customer.
    Thank you and keep up the good
    Work.

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