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Sonic to Open in Peabody MA!!

If this should be in chains forum feel free to move this one. But according to the Lynn Item today, New England's First Sonic will open in August in Peabody MA on Rt 1 North. I am excited about this news, seen the commercials and cant wait to give them a try. Anyone been to one, is it worth the hype.



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  1. We went to one in Asheville, NC, last summer (just for their slushes, as we were heading to dinner). It seems right out of the 50s--you pull in, you order, and they bring it to your car.

    I'll be looking forward to checking it out when they open. I heard their burgers are pretty good.

    1. I used to go to one in Florida all the time! It's hit or miss, I suppose- it's still fast food, but there are some things that I loved as a poor college student! Breakfast burritos, burgers, corn dogs- but most importantly, cream pie shakes!

      2 Replies
      1. re: voodoocheese

        Me too!!! I thought it was awesome! I'd be excited to see Sonic in New England

        1. re: Danielle11

          I have to agree. After waiting very long hours to get in, not only did I find the food not great and my burger raw but the managment staff does not take complaints well. I would not go back

      2. I fear it may well be a disappointment: My experience is that the further a fast food chain gets from its primary region, the weaker it is. (Even my beloved Whataburgers can be iffy once you get outside of Texas -- there were several locations in Albuquerque I wouldn't set foot in.) But I get serious cravings sometimes for a foot-long coney and tots with an Ocean Water, so...yay!

        3 Replies
        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          I have to agree also, take Dunkin on the west coast, a total bust. Also, with our NE winters Sonic is not too condusive to car hop service even though I'd really like to see it here.

          1. re: treb

            There are Sonics in much colder places than Peabody -- there's Sonics in Minneapolis -- and they do okay, so I don't necessarily see that as a problem.

          2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            That's a good point. I'm a big Popeyes fan, but really don't like the one in Kenmore. The White Castle in Manhattan isn't as good as the ones back in the midwest, etc.

          3. I'm gratified by this news. I get miffed by being exposed to endless annoying national-campaign TV ads for a chain I can't even try out.


            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I was thinking the exact same thing. I went to Texas once and saw one (no time to stop) and exclaimed "Wow, they really DO exist!!:

            2. It's not deserving of 2 exclamation points but it's food. I prefer the whopper, jr for a buck or Wendy's crispy chicken sandwich for $1.29 but Sonic is ok.

              1. I've been to a couple Sonics in northwest Arkansas a few years ago during a period of frequent and extended business travel there. While they have some unique items, I found their food even more unhealthy (according to their online nutrition info) than the typical fast-food fare, and not tasty enough to be worth the additional calories. I mostly kept to plain hamburgers and cheeseburgers (which you can get with jalapenos as an added bonus) whenever I needed to eat there. So, I admit to no enthusiasm at all to their imminent arrival in MA.

                Now, if White Castle could just open a storefront here, I would be a very happy camper.

                2 Replies
                1. re: newyorker1

                  I grew up with Sonic and there was one within walking distance of my mother's business, so frito pies, chili dogs, and cherry limeades were frequent after -school "snacks" for my brother and me. I must say that my recent visits to Sonic were very disappointing...the food was so salty I could not eat it (I ordered a frito pie, of course). The cherry limeades are still very refreshing (at least at the one in my hometown in Texas). What I'll be curious about is whether the P'body Sonic uses what my family calls "that Sonic Ice", which is just the particular type of crushed ice our Sonics use. Small, uniformly cylindrical pieces of ice perfect for crunching after your beverage is consumed.

                  1. re: powella

                    I have never seen a Sonic that didn't have that ice, so I think it's a given.

                2. I grew up in NC, and can't believe anyone would get excited about a Sonic! Totally mediocre fast food, not much to recommend it.

                  1. Tried them in Atlanta about 13-14 years ago. Nothing much to write home about. Just another fast food burger, IMO.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Science Chick

                      Well, the burgers are very rarely what people get excited about with Sonic. It's mostly about the drinks, the soft-serve, the chili dogs, the frito pies and, in my case, the tater tots. The burgers are nothing special.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        When i used to travel alot, the thing i liked about Sonic was that you could get the whole menu all day. I absolutely hate all breakfast food at any of the fast food places. So id sometimes drive thru Sonic and get stuff off the lunch menu for quick breakfast on the way to a job.

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          Yeah, that's the trick to Sonic. The burgers are nothing special, but the other stuff is pretty good. I'm a big fan of the chili dogs and onion rings. The tater tots with cheese are also tasty.

                      2. Ha- I love Sonic! Being in AZ now, Sonic is my favorite fast food (E, being from TX is a Whataburger fan). But I never get the burger, I love the Fritos chili cheese wrap with tater tots. How bad is this - I jutst mentioned it on the CH "hangover cure thread" (link below).

                        But, unfortunately (for me), I also mentioned a good cheesesteak, and Mike's Roast Beef. Right now, I'd kill for a roast beef with extra sauce, mayo, and lettuce from Mike's. Or one from from Nick's or Kelly's. And throw in a spinach roll. Poor me.


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Rubee

                          Oh man I hear ya. I moved to Florida for 2 yrs and CRAVED a Roast Beef 3 way from Kelly's daily. It's rough but I guess it makes you appreciate good food. How's the food in AZ? Just as terrible as FL?

                          1. re: Danielle11

                            Fortunately, there are some excellent restaurants in the Phoenix area, phew! Though of course, I still crave Prezza's egg raviolo, Neptune's lobster roll and fried clams, Taiwan Cafe's beef with longhorn peppers and eggplant with basil, Angela's mole, Artu's roast pork and garlicky eggplant sub, Billy Tse's, Pizzeria Regina, and Chacarero, to name just a few.

                            This is off-topic, so I'll link to the SW board and my report this weekend on a new favorite in AZ - Prado, serving Spanish/Mediterranean.


                            1. re: Rubee

                              The asian cuisine in FL was so terrible that I once had a friend over night me Billy Tse's. It was a little stale by the time it arrived but I was desperate!

                        2. Ya i have been to sonic i am from MA and went all the way to Kansas to try it and i swear you will love it once you try it i didnt want to leave i actually tried buying a t-shirt of of them but everyone we went to they either said no or they had no shirts to sell but i will try again when i go back but you will love it once its hear i now i cant wait

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: strsoccgir

                            curious how the experience will be in the winter time. or do they close?

                            1. re: negrazer

                              They are open all year.
                              You can eat in your car or go through the drive-thru just the same when it's cold and snowing out.

                          2. Did they open yet, or if not, has opening date been announced?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: greygarious

                              Wednesday at 10am.
                              Hours 6am-2am thereafter.

                              1. re: rknrll

                                Did any one go today? Any reports? How are the lines?

                                1. re: crabtree

                                  I live in the apartments just behind Sonic and was excited to try it tonight....not a chance!!!! The line of cars was unbelievable when I was passing it around 4pm - I have never seen anything like it! My Sonic trial will have to wait.....

                                  1. re: habanno

                                    UHub reports there's a two-mile backup down Route 1.

                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                      It was a slow crawl up Rt 1 tonight. I sadly wondered if it was due to Sonic. I'd been so excited to try it, so hopefully the hour long ride home won't last forever.

                            2. The food at Sonic is pretty good but the ice! To die for!

                              4 Replies
                                1. re: hhookk

                                  Yeah, the ice. You'll know what we mean when you go. It's *great* ice.

                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                    Can you elaborate at all for those of us who probably won't go for a very long time (if ever)?

                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                      The ice is just a ton of little pellets.

                              1. Folks, we'd just like to remind everyone to please use the Chains board if you'd like to review the menu at Sonic. Posts about the service/experience at the local outpost of this national chain are fine, since that information is location-specific. However, the Chains board is the best place to share your thoughts on the hits and misses on Sonic's menu, where hounds nationwide can share their thoughts as well.

                                1. Oy yoy you. No fast-food franchise can live up to this level of hype. I thought pretty hghly of In-N-Out Burger, but it's kind of a special case, and likely never to be franchised locally because of its peculiar commitment to quality. Sonic can't remotely be in that class.

                                  And yet, I'm curious: they do a Coney island dog that I've never tried. I wonder if it can be anywhere near as good as Tex Barry's, a small local chain that I loved as a kid.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    In-N-Out remains privately owned, and the family who runs the business has made the decision not to franchise the business. This is the primary reason that they are only in CA, AZ & NV, and why they are able to control the quality from store to store so well. Even if they expended a bit it would be on the west coast. The only way In-n-Out is coming here is if the family sells out and it gets franchised and in that case it wont be the same anyway.

                                    I will say this, while the fries aren't even in the same league, 5 Guys burgers are pretty darn satisfying when compared to in In-n-Out.

                                  2. Devra First posted results of her visit on opening day here: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: PaulB

                                      This pretty much confirmed what I expected of this chain, and totally echoes my tweet of a couple of days ago, words to the effect of, "Relax, people: it's no In-N-Out".


                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          Did anyone really think it was? Even those of us who grew up with Sonic -- in many small towns in my native Texas, Sonic and Dairy Queen were the only fast food options -- don't rate their burgers at all. Sonic is about the drinks and the tater tots, and maybe a chili cheese dog or a frito pie now and then. The burgers aren't actually very good, and they never have been. That said, I'm puzzled why Devra First seemed to be expecting a thick burger patty. Has she never been to a fast food place before?

                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            From the frenzy (apparently Dan Andelman waited in line for over an hour before giving up), you'd think it was some huge deal. Suckers. I think an In-N-Out burger might be worth waiting for if you've never tried one (as someone else pointed out, getting a local one of those is never going to happen). With Sonic, I think it's merely a case of constant national TV advertising working its magic on thousands of the gullible.


                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              For me it's the years of watching those dumb commercials thinking "What is a Sonic, what's up with those fruity slushie drinks, and why the hell do they advertise in NJ/VA/MD/MA when the nearest location is hundreds of miles away?" Maybe once I go to one I can better understand it's appeal and have some peace.

                                              No fast food is worth that wait- not In-N-Out not White Castle

                                            2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                              I'm similarly confused about the big to-do about Sonic. I lived in Austin for several years and the only Sonic items I cared about were the limeades, the tater tots and maybe the grilled cheese sandwich (on a good day). I would have to admit though that they have a huge selection and a menu that gets updated regularly.

                                        2. I went today. Got there a little after 11 am and there were 4 cars ahead of us in line for a stall. Had to wait about 10 minutes. Once we got parked and ordered the food came pretty quickly. There was quite a line when we left, but they had the police/people directing traffic.

                                          5 Replies
                                            1. re: Hill110

                                              Wow you got there at the right time. I tried going around 3PM today and the line was INSANE. After about 2 miles of backup on Route 1 we saw the police had shut down the Sonic lot and were directing cars into the Hampton Inn parking lot and spiraling through that to get to the Sonic lot. The line at the walk-up window looked to have 50+ people in it. We just said screw it and went to eat somewhere else. I'll go back late at night some time this week instead. :)

                                              1. re: scorp508

                                                I remember when Krispy Kreme first opened in Medford it was a madhouse for the first few weeks. Now they're gone. The unmanageable crowds at Sonic will peter out soon.

                                                1. re: Steve L

                                                  I was waiting in those long lines at the Krispy Kreme in Medford when they first opened. Their donuts were okay but their coffee was horrible imho. I didn't shed a tear when Krispy Kreme closed. I'm glad that they did close and now we have a Kelly's Roast Beef instead. I'll take Kelly's over Krispy Kreme any day! I'll wait until the lines die down at Sonic before I try it. It's just another fast food place to me. I've seen the Sonic commercials on tv but I'm not sure what is good at Sonic?

                                                  Kelly's Roast Beef
                                                  35 Revere Beach Pkwy, Medford, MA 02155

                                                2. re: scorp508

                                                  Don't be tempted by the late hour trip! I attempted to go last night at 9:30pm (on a Thursday!!) just to get a slush or something, and again, the line was backed up, parking lot blocked off and traffic being rerouted behind the hotels. In terms of food, I'd rather just drive another mile up the street, hook around to go south and eat at Fuji Sushi! :-P

                                              2. I was driving up rt1 Sat evening going past Sonic, there was a line of cars backed up on rte for a mile, Boomers re-living their teen years? I don't get it.

                                                1. I drove past there on Saturday night at 9:30 and the cars were backed up almost to Bertuccis. Crazy.

                                                  1. I talked to a guy today who knows the franchise owner, the wait this weekend was >2 hours at some points.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: scorp508

                                                      What is it that would make someone wait in traffic for 2 hours for a franchised chain hamburger and tater tots in a general area where food options are almost unlimited? How good could it possibly be?

                                                      1. re: Steve L

                                                        I think part of the appeal may be the novelty of the car hop service.

                                                        1. re: pemma

                                                          Pemma, i'm not arguing with you and you may well be right. I'm just trying to think of any other circumstance where anyone would wait 2 hours for someone to bring them a hamburger. I kind of get the line out the door at Bartley's , but not this.

                                                          Anyone else remember Adventure Car Hop on Route 1?

                                                          1. re: Steve L

                                                            Most of it has to do with the fact that the commercials have been on TV here for so long, and the nearest Sonic hasn't been within reasonable driving distance.

                                                            1. re: Steve L

                                                              Ah yes, Adventure Car Hop, Arnie WO..WO.. Ginsburg and they give you a 45RPM record with your burger.

                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                Yesss! Galleydad took me when I was a pup, and I got a copy of "I'm Telling You Now" by Freddie and the Dreamers!!!!!

                                                      2. Someone I know is at Sonic at this moment (3:00 in the afternoon) and says it's a total zoo there. Can't imagine what it's like during the heart of the lunch or dinner hour.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                          I was on my way to the CLam Box in Ipswich last friday, at around 11 am, and the line was down rte 1! Crazy! I did have to wait at the Clam Box- but I'll bet my food was better than that at Sonic!! Never been to a Sonic- but pass lots of them on my way to vacationing every year on the Outer Banks of NC.

                                                          1. re: macca

                                                            I'm a native Texan and was looking forward to a taste of home. Drove up there on Sunday never thinking there would be a real line...imagine my surprise to see cars everywhere, driveway taped off, police directing traffic...gah. It's fast food, what is the big deal? I went home and made steak tips.

                                                            Will make another attempt at a visit when things calm down but this is definitely not food worth waiting more than a few minutes for.

                                                        2. I grew up in Oklahoma, where the Sonic craze started many years ago, and I love their food. So when I heard they were opening in Peabody me and my kids were so excited. Their cherry lime-ade slushes and Dr. Pepper slushes are the best. Onion rings and the #2 sonic burger rocks. I love Sonic but it I don't know if it can compete with the Dairy Queens in Texas!!!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: tylerbrady

                                                            No one ever understands how different Dairy Queens are in Texas. I've given up trying to explain it to non-Texans.

                                                          2. Sonic in Peabody MA is horrible. I lived in Myrtle Beach for years and Sonic was one of my favorite fast food places to eat, so obviously, I was excited to hear that one was coming to MA. I tried Sonic in Peabody a few weeks after it opened. Not only was my burger made incorrectly, but it was cold and so were my fries. I was disappointed, but gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried the place again just yesterday. Not only are the workers very inexperienced, but again, my food was cold and the bread was stale. this time, I asked for a manager and asked for hot food. He made my burger over but it was not any better. I have also had friends try this place and they said they would never go back. If they don't get it together quick, they will not be around for long. Roller skates only go so far!!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: myrtlebeach

                                                              The two times I've eaten there my food has been warm, but nowhere near hot. You definitely don't want to drive home and eat it, eat it right there in your car or at a table.

                                                              1. re: scorp508

                                                                Ironically a bunch of people at work today were describing their trips to Sonic and everyone agreed the food was barely warm and never anywhere near hot. :( Everybody combined had been there different days of the weeks and different times of day. Drive through, walk up, and car hop didn't seem to make a difference either.

                                                            2. Is it possible to get your food any quicker if you skip the car service? I think I've seen references to a walk up window.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: nsenada

                                                                Yup. Go past Sonic, past the hotel entrance, and here is a side street. Take a right down that, turn right behind the hotel, then turn right into the rear access to road into Sonic. Drive around the parking lot towards the right and park in a space and walk up to the table area. You still have to shout into a drive-up style menu to someone on a headset behind glass 30 ft' away from you and hope they hear you right, but it is quicker if there is a long line of cars.

                                                                There is actually an entrace just beyond the first turn in for Sonic that is with the hotel entrance, but they often have cones blocking it off so the rear access road is easier.