Sonic: Tyler’s Drive-In, Too

by admin on October 1, 2009

in American Food

Like a John Wayne western, Sonic Drive In restaurants somehow manage to make us feel nostalgic for things we never actually experienced. Granted, many people do remember the 1950’s, where car-hopping waitresses wore roller skates and Franky Avalon crashed every beach party. But for the generation that thinks a “Drive In” is only a place where teenagers make out and tornadoes strike, Sonic reintroduces the good-old days in tantalizing Technicolor.

Tyler Sonics have four locations. As the name implies, they won’t have lobbies. You will drive into a spot, roll down your window read the big colorful menu, and give your order over the intercom. You can pay by credit card at that time, or wait for the “car-hop.” In a few minutes, she will walk out with your food (sorry, but rollerskates are rare nowadays), offer condiments from an impressive cargo belt, and take your money, leaving you to eat inside your car and have semi-witty conversations for 30 seconds.

“So,” you might ask, “if there is no lobby, why would I go? Why would I pay to sit in a parking lot and eat in my car?” There is a simple answer: the food is flat-out impressive, and the drinks are unbelievable. How else could Sonic become America’s Drive-In restaurant?

Sonic’s burgers are hot and delicious. They are light years ahead of Big Macs an barely shy of Whataburgers. Their fries are equally tasty, as are their chicken sandwiches. But these items are just Sonic’s obligatory staple foods. Most people come to Sonic because of all the unique things they offer, like Coney and Tots. Officially, that’s a hot dog and small potatoes. Sonic offers these without a shred of embarrassment, again claiming Nostalgic Rights. Who doesn’t have great memories of eating hot dogs on a Saturday afternoon? And I can promise you that Sonics are better than your memories.

Keep moving down the menu and you’ll find the glorious Toaster fleet. That’s a big burger, club, or breakfast sandwich between two golden pieces of Texas Toast. And speaking of Toast, you can get breakfast food all day, which is always appealing to people like me. The sides are fantastic, too, with onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chili cheese tots, and my favorite: jalapeno poppers.

But it’s Sonics specialty drinks that will keep you coming back. Don’t settle for a Coke or a Sprite. You can get those anywhere. Go for something big, like a Signature Limeade. Cherry, strawberry, lime, apple, cranberry… so many choices. Can’t pick one? Pick them all. Sonic’s Limeades are legendary because they actually put fruit into the drink. My favorite is the STRAWBERRY LIMEADE, a drink whose name demands capitalization. There aren’t just bits of strawberry mixed in, there are chunks, so that after you finish the drink itself, you’ll have a healthy desert mixed right in with your ice. It’s a beautiful thing.

All of Sonic’s drinks are fully customizable. There are thousands of possible combinations that have never even been though of before. Be creative. And do the same when desert time comes. Sonic’s Frozen Favorites menu is as unique and appealing as the drinks menu. I recommend going beyond the obvious sundaes and milk shakes and opt for a Sonic Blast, a Cream Slush Treat, or a Java Chiller. You can’t go wrong. Just don’t skip it.

I seriously doubt that the 1950’s ever tasted this good, but when you are holding a Toaster Sandwich and a Mocha Chip Java Chiller, it really doesn’t matter. If you really want to feel like a 50’s beach party-goer, head over to Sonic on 64 & the NW Loop or on South Broadway Tyler Texas. There are outdoor tables, a fine playground for the kids and a beach volleyball court for you. But if you go there, I can’t guarantee Franky Avalon won’t show up to mooch a Mozzarella stick or two. You’ve been warned.

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