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Sonic-updates in MN?

Has anybody heard about Sonic supposedly opening up off of Suburban Ave. in St. Paul? I recall Jenkins mentioning it a while back in the Pi Press, but haven't heard a thing since.

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  1. I happen to drive by there every few weeks and have been kind of keeping an eye out for it but haven’t seen any sign of it yet. I think it’s supposed to be going in on the site of the old Taco Bell, (which is right next to the _new_ Taco Bell.....), but I’m not sure the deal was ever finalized.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Uncle Ira

      It is indeed going in at the old Taco Bell site. The construction trailer on the site now has a vivid orange "Sonic DI" hand-pained sign on it. Construction is underway, but very early on.

    2. Man! I can't want to buy some ice to chew! Takes me back.

      1. ooh! finally! Our very own Sonic! Those commercials on cable tv have been teasing me for years! This makes me happy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: exgirlfriend

          Temper those expectations. It's just another fast food joint, albeit with much slower service. Maybe a couple interesting items (none that I've found on several visits during cross-country trips) but I'm not sure why anyone would be excited about them coming to MSP.

          1. re: MSPD

            Chewable ice! I mean, it's ice you can chew! Also, the empty cups are perfect for sippin' syrup (syzurp, sizzurp, lean, purple, et al).

          1. re: mnxd9

            i just drove by this weekend! it's construction is complete! I litterally screamed when we drove by cause i had no idea is was in the works! It should be open SOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNN

            1. re: braceyourselves

              MSPD - There are some fast food joints that are worth having. I have to admit, I am totally for Sonic. Maybe it's just because it was something that I could get down while in FL or out in CO but not here? Like how people get excited for In N' Out Burger out of CA or something like that. I had in Vegas last year while visiting my sister-and you're right, it's not anything that is so totally amazing - but the fries (for fast food) were always crispy and the shakes (oh the shakes) were always good.

              1. re: snoboardbabe77

                I get the logic and I know how places can just hit a sweet spot that's more than just about the food. I'm glad people are excited (even though Sonic could rob business from deserving independent joints serving better food).

                I guess I wish Sonic and Culvers and Chick Fil A and Raising Cane's etc. did something for me but they don't. Incidentally, I think In N' Out is fine but not great. After I got over the hype, I don't mind that we don't have that here either.

                1. re: MSPD

                  Yes, it's mostly just nostalgia we're trying to fulfill. it's not the greatest food but just the memory of it. Like when the Long John Silver's in MOA opened, that was wonderful! And eveytime i go to Michigan i have to have Church's Chicken.

                  1. re: braceyourselves

                    If you are seriously looking for nostalgia drive out to Spring Park to the Minnetonka Drive-in. You won't be disappointed. If you want a double dose of nostalgia do it on a Thursday night and marvel at all the classic cars.

          2. Best news I've heard all spring! I grew up in Missouri where Sonics rule the scene. I think I know what I am doing this weekend...

            8 Replies
            1. re: SarahN

              MSPD -- I hope that Sonic doesn't take away business from anyone either. I don't think Connie's Creamy Cone will be affected--because no fast food chain could compare to her shakes. Truthfully, they don't do all that much for me either-but I'll take a Sonic any day over another Applebee's or Olive Garden.

              That area of St Paul needs help with non-chain places. It's apparent that a few of the chains couldn't make it (Krispy Kreme, and Baker's Square went out of business months ago), but the addition of Tea House in the strip mall will hopefully revive it, Leo's Chow Mein still remains in the Dayton's Bluff area and the Strip Club is getting decent reviews--all of which offer much better and non-comparable fare to that of Sonic, so I'm not worried. Also, I don't know if you ever went to Los Tejanos there before they closed-but they were actually a decent Mexican restaurant if you couldn't make it over to Lake Street or Concord St.

              1. re: SarahN

                MSPD - I am really hoping that the chowies (and their non-chowie friends) will realize how Sonic, etc. are nothing compared to the indie joints. For example, I was thinking the only true indie that might be hurt was Connie's Creamy Cone off Dale & Maryland, but I think it is far enough away, and I think that anyone whose experienced Connie's knows there is no comparison on shakes, etc.

                As for the other better restaurants in the area - I dont think that Sonic has anything to offer that would lure them away from the good places (The Strip Club, Leo's Chow Mein, Swede Hollow Cafe in Dayton's Bluff), the Tea House in the strip mall, etc. Everything else around there for the most part is fast food or chain restaurants (even Baker's Square and Krispy Kreme went out of business)...

                I don't love Sonic either--but it is about the fact that we do not have one (the one in Lakeville isn't open yet either, is it?) But I'll take a Sonic any day over another Applebee's or Olive Garden. Blegh.

                1. re: snoboardbabe77

                  Where in Lakeville are they building? I haven't seen it yet

                  1. re: snoboardbabe77

                    I don't think Creamy Cone needs to worry about Sonic as much as they need to worry about the fact they charge $3.00 for a very small handfull of Cheese Curds. Yes they serve the best shakes/malts and Smoothies but come on. I swear I got around 8 or 9 tiny little Cheese Curds my last visit. Shame on them.

                    1. re: EricShawnSmith

                      Conny's is only open for a few months a year! They have to make hay while the sun shines!


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        When I drove by it said they were opening next week.

                        1. re: jenniegirl

                          Jenniegirl, you're replying regarding Sonic, not Conny's, right? Conny's has been open for the season for a couple of months now... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/49772...


                2. went to the byerly's across from the new sonic & noticed that the sonic is apparently open now. it was packed, with a uniformed cop directing traffic into the lot. re-effing-diculous. there were people parking down the block and walking. so i'd give it a week or so unless you're completely rabid for whatever is good at sonic. thought i'd let everybody know, though.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Reddyrat

                      the byerly's is at 1959 suburban ave st paul-- the sonic is right across the street. the ruth street exit off of 94 will take you to it.

                  1. Well, I went through the long staging area line for about 45 minutes to have the Sonic bacon cheeseburger with tater tots/chili/cheese. Very salty. Didn't taste all that great.

                    I remember about 5 years ago having my first and only Sonic burger in Norfolk, VA. I remember it being so delicious that I've considered driving to Iowa just to have another one. What a disappointment. Either my tastes have changed or their quality has gone down hill.

                    I did enjoy the limeade and wonder if it's chock full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. That'll be too bad, if it is.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: shoo bee doo

                      Well I think most any restaurant need a good month or so before I think their quality will be up to par, with fast food, I think you can start hoping it'll be up to par in a month's time.

                      Then consider what they are probably paying people, and the long hours they are putting in right now. Personally I wouldn't expect perfection from a fast food joint for sometime, I'll bet turn over is huge the first month on the employees, that always hurts.

                      That being said we did go there last monday, and we pretty much stuck to fried food and slushes, overall it was good. The cheesecake bite are probably the best thing I've eaten in some time, I mean it's deep fried cheesecake, how could you mess that up? If nothing else we'd go back for the cheesecake bites and slushes. The wife also had a carmel coffee cooler thingy, and she's asking to go back for another.

                      The Savage location is reported to be opening on 8.8.08, can't wait that's a whole lot closer to me.

                    2. Sonic is no better or worse than any other fast food place, a little different with the tots and the breakfast toaster sandwiches but I do love their slushies and limeaids a whole lot. I have been told, but I haven't confirmed, that there is a Sonic under construction in Elk River also. I doubt that there will be a huge loss of business for the local independents, since I think that people who love the fast food lifestyle most likely don't appreciate the better food/service and weren't patronizing the locals anyway. The rest of us will indulge ourselves on occasion but then go back to the good stuff!

                        1. re: BatMan

                          I drive down Suburban Ave about 4 times a week and am happy to say the lines have subsided. I can actually turn into Byerly's without a traffic cop having to direct me as I go against the flow.
                          The St. Paul police did a fantastic job keeping the crowds under control, Sonic has done a good job keeping their property clean and garbage picked up with these massive crowds. A few bank employees behind the Sonic reported some gang activity in the first few weeks but said each time the police quickly took control and it hasn't been an on going problem.

                          1. re: crissyfi

                            The Savage location on Co Rd 42 is progressing, but no sign saying when they will open. I have eaten at Sonic in other cities late at night, simply because nothing else was open, surprised by how busy they were at 1 or 2 am. Food was nothing special.

                          2. re: BatMan

                            i think the lines on the weekend are still quite bad. dh & i were actually going to try to get 1 beverage to try & since on scooter, avoided the line of cars/traffic cop, parked and walked. when i got up to the line of pedestrian customers, i noticed that one of their outdoor order stations is out of order (what, was that 2 whole weeks? how does that happen?). stood there in the sun for 8-10 mins and the line did not move *at all.* annoyed by the crowd and the wait, we hopped back on the scooter & breezed over to conny's creamy cone, where service was instant and the cold beverages were *delicious.* i have no interest in sonic's food but want to try these sublime bevs folks talk about.

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              let me get this straight,people are waiting upwards of a half hour for fast food?
                              Within a few miles you halve the dairyette,little oven,Obbs and the 5 and 8 and people are waiting for Sonic! LMFAO

                              1. re: joemauerguy

                                yup it is truly ridiculous. and sad.

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  Is this just a Minnesota thing or what? I remember a couple years back the same thing happened when Krispy Kreme opened up. There were uniformed cops directing traffic at Krispy Kreme too. Donuts...donuts for pete's sake. I've lived in Minnesota my whole life and I'll freely admit that we are rubes with a capital R, but are we really that bad that we'll wait in lines to get fast food and donuts? Have other people in other parts of the country experienced lines at new Sonics and/or Krispy Kremes?

                                  1. re: whoopdido

                                    I wonder if part of this is the feeling that the rest of the country has experienced something for so long, and/or that we've visited these places when we've traveled, and now we finally get to experience it here at home. I've never been in another city when a Sonic or Krispy Kreme opened but where I grew up had an Ikea since about 1990 and we went right when it opened. While it was an exciting event, it was nothing like the months long chaos that happened when the Ikea opened here a few years ago. I think Minnesotans had just heard about Ikea for so long, and made drives to Chicago to visit, that one right in our own city was so wonderful.

                                    That said, if a Dunkin Donuts opens here I'd line up for coffee and a chocolate chip muffin. They've been playing way more commercials here which makes my husband and I think they might be opening here soon (yes, we know they've failed here in the past). That's what seemed to happen with Sonic, first the commercials than the store.

                                    1. re: katebauer

                                      Oh, and if that Dunkin Donuts goes up, please please please let them have an attached Baskin Robbins!!! I remember on one of our first dates CG drove me 90 miles to Austin MN where the closest BR was, for my beloved Jamoca Almond Fudge. It has closed, and the closest one is probably in Chicago, or Des Moines, something like that. There are no more in the state of MN. Please let it come with the Dunkin, if the Dunkin comes.

                                      1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                                        Can they also attach a pinkberry (that I keep reading so much about on the LA and SF boards)? I read (in City Pages, I believe) that LeeAnne Chin's here in the Twin Cities is carrying a "pinkberry" like froyo product, but, I want to try the real thing!


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          What is pinkberry? Are they somehow in business with Dunkin Donuts? I know I've seen lots of Dunkin Donuts- Baskin Robbins combo sites in IL, PA, and CA... but never pinkberry. Sounds yummy, though-- next time I'm in CA on business I'll look for one and report back!

                                          1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                                            Pinkberry is a frozen yogurt place primarily in CA and NY. They're not associated at all with D&D. I had some last time I was in New York and it's good - the yogurt tastes like yogurt and not ice cream. In general though the Twin Cities need more frozen yogurt. Sometimes I want a cold treat but not the calories of one of the gourmet ice cream shops. Are there any TCBYs or equivalent out here?

                                            1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                                              Not affiliated with Dunkin Donuts as far as I know. It's a frozen yogurt chain/franchise that (I think) is a knock-off of (I think it's called) Red Mango, which I believe is a Korean product. It's been all the rage in LA and such, but, I think is pretty much over. You can do a search on the chains board if you want more info, here's a post for example http://www.chowhound.com/topics/51391...

                                              Here's the city pages piece http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2008/...

                                              Yes, please report back (on chains board, though).


                                          2. re: cheeseguysgirl

                                            i thought there was a dunkin donuts on university, near snelling in a strip mall? was there once one there? did it close? am i totally nuts???

                                            wrt BR-- i didn't realize there were no more BRs in MN until last week! used to love them as a kid, but must confess to liking sebastian joe's/izzy's/etc. better-- if BR moved back in and izzy's went out of biz or something i'd be pissed. i think BR is better than coldstone though and do not understand the proliferation of these horrible places. grr.

                                            wrt fro-yo-- can't you get soft serve fro-yo at most dairy queens and orange julius places and scoop fro-yo at the premium ice cream parlors? i also did a search and it says there is a tcby in new hope and 2 in minneapolis, one at 600 hennepin, one at 6965 34th ave south-- don't know if this is current info. there used to be a lot of fro-yo around, i think it went *out*, & now it's coming back *in* again. . .

                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                              Oh, I'll take Izzy's, Sebastian Joe's, etc. over TCBY any day. If I'm looking to slim down, I'll choose sherbet or even Izzy's soy ice cream over TCBY. I don't think I've ever seen froyo at Izzy's though.

                                              Yeah, froyo was big in the 80's, spawned TCBY etc. and then sort of died out. Pinkberry/Red Mango is a new and different wave, apparently, though since I haven't tried it, I have no idea what makes it different or what all of the fuss is. If you follow the SF and LA boards at all, there are a lot of "I'm so over pinkberry" kinds of posts in the last 6 months or so. So, aside from the LeeAnne Chinn thing, we might miss the wave altogether. Which is probably fine. :).


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Oh, I'm completely aware that TCBY and other chain froyo isn't anything extraordinary. It's just that sometimes I want something chocolaty, cold and sweet and not consume 300+ calories. I'm not a fan of sherbet or other fruit flavored ice cream products.

                                                DQ does have both chocolate and vanilla soft serve, which is only 150 calories for a 1/2 cup serving. TCBY is slightly lower calorie and has more variety of flavors. The real issue is, who can avoid Blizzards when you're at DQ :)

                                                In my opinion, Pinkberry was a tasty treat but not something that would replace sweet yogurts, as it has the bitter yogurt taste. Also, if I remember they only have the "pinkberry" flavor - which is like plain yogurt, and a green tea flavor. You can add chocolate chips or fruit pieces.

                                                1. re: katebauer

                                                  word!--no doubt!!! (how can you go to dq and not order a blizzard-- beats me).

                                                  i agree that tcby is a little sweet. i might be a freak, but i always liked the "real" fro-yo "tang" or "bitter" taste, esp with all the fruit flavors-- maybe not with chocolate etc. i would also *never* order chocolate fro-yo, even if i was on the "castaway" desert island and there was one fro-yo stand catering only to me, with only chocolate fro-yo and i had a million dollars in fro-yo bucks. i'd go forage some lukewarm coconuts and crack them over my ice skate instead. i have no idea why i feel so strongly that chocolate fro-yo should not exist, but chocolate fro-yo is the frozen pus-eruption of hell, i am certain of it. you want to scare me, chase me down the street with a cup of frozen chocolate fro-yo. i will shriek like a 2 month old chihuaia with a urinary tract infection, and i'll run like hell.

                                                  i also notice "annie's frozen yogurt" in the edina area.

                                                  i just don't feel right about giving any money to leeann chin until she embraces & acknowledges tofu and reintroduces the same into her striving-for-healthy, let's-just-forget-about-all-those-deep-fried-cream-cheese-wontons from 1979-2006, shall-we-now, chinese-american menu. apparently she's now serving fro-yo. how about frozen soy yogurt, leeann? frozen tofutti?

                                                  *sigh*. okay-- does anyone know about an independent fro-yo establishment, or an acceptable fro-yo at an established independent ice cream place, in msp? fruit flavors preferred, yogurt tang acceptable, no sprinkles required.

                                                  1. re: katebauer

                                                    Sorry Kate, my reply was actually to soupkitten not you. This weird delay thing is wreaking havoc with our conversation, I didn't even see your post until after I'd posted that. So, in no way was I attempting to dissuade you from wanting frozen yogurt or eating sherbet in lieu of what you really want! I completely understand your logic!

                                                    I know it's not what you're looking for, but until we can find you some good froyo, is soy "ice cream" less of a calorie bomb and closer to your expectations? Izzy's has some pretty good soy ice cream flavors! Nice texture. Chocolate is definitely available, as well as chocolate banana, peanut butter, blueberry, strawberry, mango, raspberry and various combos of those flavors.

                                                    In the meantime, I'll be on the look out for good froyo for you!

                                                    P.S. I'm a green tea ice cream nut. I'm even more intrigued by Pinkberry now that I know they make a green tea flavor. I've been making my own froyo at home, including green tea flavor from matcha I bought at United Noodle. Here's Heidi Swanson's recipe for a frozen yogurt recipe to rival pinkberry's--it's actually David Leibowitz's http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...


                                                2. re: soupkitten

                                                  I've had the Leeann Chin version--called "Red Cherry" by the way. As katebauer says above, the big difference between the Red Cherry/Pinkberry/Red Mango frozen yogurt and the stuff they sell at TCBY and Macy's Marketplace is that the Red Cherry stuff actually tastes like yogurt. TCBY is just a really sweet flavored soft serve ice cream. Red Cherry has that tangy yogurt taste. Personally, I've never been a yogurt fan, so it wasn't to my liking, but it was an interesting difference.

                                                  1. re: drew13000

                                                    For those of you wanting to try Leeann Chin's "Red Cherry" without having to step foot in a Leeann Chins, it seems that "Red Cherry" booth might be making the rounds of the outdoor summer festivals. We saw the booth at the Highland Park festival a few weeks back. Photo attached. It was pretty good, tangy as described, but now that I've had it, I can stop wondering about what I might be missing. Conny's Creamy Cone still has my heart for frozen summer treats.


                                            2. re: whoopdido

                                              It is not just a Minnesota thing. Krispy Kreme caused the same kind of hype for a while in just about every city they opened up in. MSP does often seem to be on the tail end of many growing national chains. Maybe that adds to the anticipation.

                                              1. re: Davydd

                                                The funny thing (well probably not so funny if you're Krispy Kreme) is that, as far as I know, every Krispy Kreme location in Minnesota is now closed.

                                                As far as I know they were in Maple Grove, Coon Rapids and St. Paul (very close to the new Sonic) and I believe they're all closed now.

                                                1. re: whoopdido

                                                  They were also in Eden Prairie and Mall of America.

                                                  Target was selling them in their stores where available locally around the country before Krispy Kreme arrived in MSP.

                                                  1. re: Davydd

                                                    Are the Mall of America and Eden Prairie locations closed too?

                                                2. re: Davydd

                                                  LOL i do think it's not just MN with the lining up for (arguably) crappy chain food phenomenon. . . i was recently lurking on the southwest board where people were raving about the 1st culver's in the area, talking about driving 50 miles to go to culver's, waiting for 1 hour to eat a butterburger, etc. :)

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    Well, I MIGHT stand in a bit of a line for an In-N-Out Burger. Not Culvers though.

                                                    1. re: whoopdido

                                                      We don't have an In-N-Out but if it came I imagine there will be a frenzy. Same with 5 Guys. Of course we're all waiting anxiously for a Waffle House. <wink>

                                                      Culver's is spreading two sandwiches that can't easily be found outside the midwest in the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich and the fried walleye sandwich. Gotta love them for that.

                                                      1. re: Davydd

                                                        If In-N-Out burger came here...I know my fiance would be right there. I wonder if the secret code language would also make its way from the West.

                                                        As I said before, it really IS about having something somewhere else and craving it every once in awhile and then--what? We're going to get one? And then people get really giddy.

                                                        I remember when I went out to Kentucky for Debate and I fell in love with Fazolis. They opened one eventually in Coon Rapids I think? (Don't even know if it is still open)...and I hated it. I was bummed.

                                                        Last time I was in Chicago, my girlfriend told me that Dunkin Donuts actually had good bagels. As a person that grew up in NY, I was aghast, could it be? Truthfully? They weren't bad!

                                                        And, I'm DYING for a Yellow Sub (from Kansas) to eventually show up in MN! It puts Subway, Potbelly's, Erberts, and Jimmy John's to shame...

                                                        1. re: snoboardbabe77

                                                          "And, I'm DYING for a Yellow Sub (from Kansas) to eventually show up in MN! It puts Subway, Potbelly's, Erberts, and Jimmy John's to shame..."

                                                          I live in the land of the Yellow Sub (aka Planet Sub). I would gladly trade you one Yellow Sub for a Potbelly's. :) I absolutely love the relish that Potbelly's puts on their sandwiches.

                                                          1. re: jm054

                                                            I have to admit jm054-the relish of pickled hot peppers on the Potbelly subs are pretty good....Granted, I haven't been to Kansas for a Yellow Sub since I went the UK for a debate tournament, oh, 7 years ago...but for the tournament, we were there for 3 days - and we ate Yellow Sub 4 times.

                                      2. Bad news/ good news in Savage. We lost a great nursery (Dundee) and got a cookie cutter Walgreens and Sonic in its place in Savage. Sonic should be okay. I have experienced Sonic in Las Vegas, and I have to say, Vegas is a great location for a drive-in. Not sure what January and February will be like for the new face in town.
                                        I have to agree about the drinks. There are many to choose from and some are quite good. The burgers were fair to good, but you really go to Sonic for the drinks. For me, the Sonic is walking distance, so I gues I can burn what I earn in heart clogging goodness. I may look a little funny standing at the drive-in parking spot;) Not sure what kind of seating you have in St. Paul, but it is too early to tell what it will be like in Savage. I look forward to a good walk to Sonic. I really just want my Dundee Nursery back, but that is not going to happen. The money was too good to refuse and Dundee is a mere memory now. More parking lots than green space in that part of Savage now.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: savagelysonic

                                          It's funny to hear about how passionate people are about Sonic-there seems to literally be one on every corner in Wichita-the menus have gotten confusing with half of the menu taken up by drinks and ice cream. They did used to have this deep fried sausage pancake thing for breakfast that was sooo yummy.

                                        2. It looks like there's going to be a Sonic in Bloomington. It will be a block south of Southtown where a KFC has just closed.