Starke restaurant owner shares how he turned his life around

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:25 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - It’s never too late to get a fresh start. And for one man in Starke, his came through a love of food.

Charlie Jonas is the owner of Starke restaurant “Sauced Up”, which is going on four years of business.

Back in 2012, Jonas was sentenced to five years in prison for the possession and selling of cocaine.

Charlie says looking back, “basically it was just a lot of bad decisions I made when I was younger, you know, trying to get fast money or whatever. I got caught up with a bunch of drug charges.”

Charlie served his sentence until 2018 when he was released. From there, his passion for cooking took off and his food business started from where he calls home.

The restaurant owner says he got his start by “selling to friends and family, people right in the community and it was right on my mom’s front porch. It wasn’t commercial equipment but it was enough to get me by.”

Shortly after he started cooking for friends and family, his mom received a legal notice for running an unlicensed food service, because business was booming enough for local restaurant owners to notice. From there, that pushed Charlie, along with his motto of self-accountability, to go ahead and take the next step of becoming a licensed business owner.

While the decision was a tough one to make, Charlie says he “just decided to make that decision. It was a scary decision but I felt‚ you know, it was necessary and after that, once I started to give it 100 percent, it just blew up.”

He took his food truck to Ocala often, where Charlie says business was great.

Shortly after frequent trips to Marion County, the opportunity presented itself to have an actual restaurant, right in his hometown.

He hasn’t looked back since and is now set to open another location of “Sauced Up” in Gainesville during the third week of January.

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