Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Review: Sonic

I can honestly say I had never heard of a Sonic drive-in until one opened in Spokane about a year ago. I have avoided the place due to the overwhelming traffic congestion the restaurant's popularity caused. Now with a handy Post Falls location (Hwy 41 & Mullan) and a soft-opening, I had no reason to miss out.

We pulled into "America's Drive-in" at about 1:30 p.m. last Thursday. Most of the drive-in stalls were full and there was a line at the drive through. Staff members were handing out menus and directing traffic into the parking lot. We chose a stall next to the building, not the best choice with record high temperatures and no shade at that time of day.

Each stall has it's own speaker menu board. The directions are easy. Push the button, wait for a greeting, place your order and a "friendly carhop" will bring your food. There's even a slot for your credit car right on the board (you can pay cash to the carhop). Seems easy enough, but hearing the voice on the other end was difficult with the Sonic radio station blaring overhead and a diesel idling next to us. After starting our order over once and then correcting it twice, we left it up to fate to see what came out.

We did realize between the order and delivery that we weren't offered our choice of fries or tots with our "Burger Meal." It wasn't a problem for the smiling, friendly carhop who delivered our order (which came surprising fast considering the crowd). The carhop quickly retrieved tots to replace the fries we were given. Other than that, our order was complete.

My Sonic Burger ($2.49) was a thin, but wide and heavy patty topped with pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. The bun was slightly dry and cracked, but otherwise it was an excellent fast food burger. The tots were hot, crisp and well seasoned. DD had the same burger, but added jalapenos ($.30). The best part of the meal was my Cherry Slush ($1.59, medium). Think Slurpee, but better. It really hit the spot on such a hot day.

The menu at Sonic is more American diner fare, like Denny's, than a fast food joint. Aside from burgers, they serve toaster sandwiches, salads, wraps, chicken, coney dogs and various breakfast offerings (served all day). One item in particular caught my attention - the Chili Cheese Wrap ($2.69). It's a flour tortilla filled with Fritos, chili, cheese and onions. A portable pepper belly.

The ice cream and drink section are extensive. Flavorings are available for soft drinks and ice teas. Combine that with the Limeades, Slushes and Smoothies, and the possibilities are endless.

The real attraction to Sonic is the atmosphere. In true carhop fashion, the servers ride out on roller blades. A condiment server rolled up half-way through the meal to offer extra ketchup and mustard. On the day we visited, the manager came by with a tray of miniature root beer float samples. There isn't any inside seating, although there are a few outdoor tables. A restroom is available for those dining in their cars and the Sonic radio station sets the mood with requests from all over the nation. The experience is nostalgic for those who can remember the heyday of drive-ins and just plain fun for the next generation.


Angela said...

We drove by, and were amazed at the crowd. It seems like a fun experience, but in an absolutely terrible location with the traffic. Ick. It's seemed kind of close to the Hwy, too. A Cherry Slush sounds good, though. Tyler and I might have to check it out.

Shinie said...

That reminds me, you have to enter off of Mullan so traffic doesn't back up on Hwy 41.

Angela said...

Good to know - I think Tyler and I will hit it up tomorrow after our double feature date (Ocean's 13 and Surf's Up). Mmmmm....

Revka said...

I love Sonic - it was a treat when my parents would take us kids there. I have enjoyed all their food and think it's great for being from a "fast" food place.