In case you missed it, TNT business columnist Dan Voelpel reported in today's paper that Sonic Drive-In will open its South Hill Puyallup location in April. Read the story here.
Disclosure: I've never been to a Sonic and I don't understand (yet) its burger-slash-soda lure. I do, however, get fast food burger enthusiasm as a general culinary obsession. Don't get me started on Friesenburgers by the Tacoma Dome. I am an official "fan" of Burgerville on my Facebook page. I routinely trek to Seattle's Crown Hill neighborhood for a Dick's Deluxe (followed by a trip to the toy store Archie McPhee). I know why people line up at In-n-Out (and I have been among them). While I'll have to wait until April to explore Sonic's appeal, I do know a LOT of people love Sonic.
Case in point on cult fanaticism: TNT diner reader Eric Thompson, a self described foodist, sent me a detailed list of why the good people of South Sound should be culinarily curious about the coming of the burger chain. His list of Sonic favorites: pellet ice, four kinds of diet soda, crunchy onion rings, stellar snack items and, oh, about 20 other reasons. Click "read more" to see Thompson's ode to Sonic (and, no, he does not work for Sonic, just a diehard fan).
Now your turn: Your thoughts on Sonic please. What's the big deal about the food there? And if you have a dissenting Sonic opinion, I'd like to hear it.
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I got an e-mail from TNT Diner reader Eric Thompson in December asking about the Sonic opening. I asked him via e-mail what's good to eat at Sonic. Here is his ode to Sonic. Thanks Eric for letting me share this with TNT Diner readers.
The food is what fast food is - however, the onion rings are *exceptional* - they bread them on-site and they have a thin shattery coating that would be the envy of most tempura specialists. I'm partial to the breakfast sandwiches served on texas toast, given that McDonalds seems to have lost the ability to actually toast English muffins anymore.
Sonic's strengths are in their snack items (tater tots, macaroni and cheese croquettes, little dippable cinnamon rolls and sausage biscuits - they rotate a feature item in about every six weeks) and their beverages.
Here's a stack of indisputable facts about Sonic drinks:
Sonic has THE BEST ICE in the history of fast food. . . it's the pellet ice like hospitals (and some am/pm locations) use. They even sell ten-pound bags to go!
All Sonic locations have four kinds of diet soda - diet Coke, Diet Dr Pepper, Sprite Zero and Minute Maid Light Lemonade
They endlessly customize drinks with syrups (regular and sugar-free), fresh fruit (lemons, limes, cherries, strawberries, bananas) and juices (cranberry, apple, orange).
They use demon Styrofoam, so their drinks stay cold and don't sweat in the car cupholder. Important, because their 44 Oz is a lot of thermal mass.
Sonic shakes are excellent, and come in a variety of flavors - vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coconut, banana, pineapple, and then there's the Cream Pie variant with added coconut and graham cracker crumbs.
They make smoothies on par with Jamba Juice for well less than half the price.
Sonic features slushes and limeades that are truly refreshing - the Diet Cherry Limeade is my weakness. ... Imagine almost a quart and a half of icy-cold fizzy goodness with the tartness and pulp of fresh limes, the sweetness of Oregon-grown maraschino cherries and the lift of a little cherry syrup. Now think about how much more refreshed you'd feel in the 112F heat of Phoenix, AZ in July while sipping one. Isn't that better?
Sonic has Happy Hour every day from 2-4PM - half-off every beverage that isn't ice cream based.
Some people are addicted to Sonic Ocean Water - a combo of Sprite and Blue Coconut syrup. There may be controlled substances in it.
Sonic drink combinations aren't something you can get anywhere else, really - Blackberry Iced Tea? Cranberry-Lime Coke? Pineapple-Banana Shake? No problem.