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SD: Sonic Burger..why is there a line around the block?

Went by the new Sonic in Santee the other day and there was a line around the block and out the door.
I've been to a Sonic in AZ and it was good but what's all the fuss?

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  1. Probably because there are only something like 5 Sonic Burger locations in the entire state of California.

    1. I guess you see the legendary San Diego Hype Machine in action as discussed numerous times on this board. ;)

      1 Reply
      1. re: honkman

        Ha. Good one.

        I think it is because they have been bombarding San Diego with advertising for years without a location (strange business model).

        It would be the same if Pacific Law Center or the Cohn group and been running tv ads for years then finally opened up a place.

      2. Same reason there's a line down the block at Hodad's and out the door at El Indio. I'd say more but I wouldn't want people to think me uncharitable.

        1. I think that people just want to try it out for themselves and not necessarily believe the hype or the naysayers with out evidence. I haven't been to the Santee location, but I did go to the Hemet store and I like it. The fries were better than MacDonalds' (IMHO) and the burgers are as good or better than In 'n Out. Plus the menu is broader than either.
          Just my $.02.

          1 Reply
          1. re: araknd

            To each their own I guess, but I doubt many would agree with you that the burgers are as good or better than In n Out. I've tried Sonic's burgers twice (at separate locations), and each time took one bite and threw the rest out. I'm guessing they are precooked and assembled to order, rather than being cooked to order. In any case, I think they taste horrible. That said, some of their slushes are OK, and I like being able to get breakfast items all day.

          2. I almost never eat fast food, thankfully, but I was in Santee this week and wanted to check out Sonic for my first time. Being able to order from a "stall" reminds me of the old A&W root beer stands I went to as a kid, although the food was crap haha.

            Anyway, they directed traffic down the street, to get in a line to get in line for the Sonic drive thru, or a stall. After the line didn't move for at least 5 minutes, I drove off. I also noticed several empty stalls as I left the line for a line.....weird.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MrKrispy

              They are queuing the cars so as to only have about 20 at any one time in the stalls, because the drive through and the walk ups are so solidly busy. Especially when all drinks are 1/2 price (from 2-4 each day)

              They do open at 5:30 in the morning and don't start the queue until about 10 am most days it seems. The entire menu is available all day.

              On Easter Sunday at 2 p.m., there were 60 cars in the waiting area. It's just crazy.

              Another location, in Vista, is supposed to open this summer. Hopefully that will take off some of the novelty.

              The next two closest locations are El Centro and Hemet.

              There was a *front page* article in the Union Trib on April 3 about all the training for the employees-roller skates you know. That didn't help the crowds.

              1. re: Cathy

                There was also an article about them returning to San Diego in the Night and Day section of the UT. Seriously, I know, I know, San Dieog is not New York or San Fransisco, but there are definately better culinary stories to write about than this!

            2. Shiney new object. Masses stupified.

              2 Replies
                1. Drive-in nostalgia combined with liberal television advertising.

                  1. BC, it's all about re-living those teenage years. You know cars, car hops, yadda yadda. Back in the day, my fav was Big Boy, I clocked in a lot of time on the drive-in side.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: cstr

                      I will forever be re-living those teenage years..why do you think that I am a 70's drummer chick..always young at heart..love a drive-in and in Mt.Helix/La Mesa were I grew up, there was an A&W that fit the bill..
                      I'll have to check out the 'shiny new object'..

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Are you old enough to remember the Oscar's drive-in somewhere around University and Massachusettes? ;-)

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          LOL..DD..I've seen the pictures and heard the stories from my classmates..
                          ; )

                        2. re: Beach Chick

                          A&W, yup, 25 cent chili dogs and a dime mug of root beer, could hang there all night as well. As you can imagine, lots of party time, I graduated from HS, Summa Cum Lucky! but then got it together.

                      2. I went and had my first California Cheeseburger at Sonic a couple of days ago..
                        Blew...Big Time!..the bun was cakey and more bun than burger..low quality meat.
                        lettuce, pickles and tomt's, with thousand island dressing.
                        I didn't try one of those famous cherry drinks..I'm more a brewed ice tea chick with lots of lemons..
                        Maybe I caught it on an off day but I'll tell you that In and Out can sleep well at night!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          I don't think anyone mentioned the hamburgers as being good, BC.

                          ( I get a breakfast sandwich or a chili dog or burger on Texas Toast and always tots)... Every food item is bought as an accompaniment to the beverage/slushie/dessert - the primary reason to come here.

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            Hey BC, the shakes are probably the best choice at Sonic, food has never been good, atleast that's my expectation but, it does bring back a hint of the old days.

                            1. re: cstr

                              Agree...stay away from the food. Had the hot dogs and hamburgers and they've got to be on the bottom of the chain lists. Had one of their breakfast burritos and it wasn't bad, but maybe I was hungry.
                              Drinks and ice cream stuff they can't do too much damage.

                          2. Oh my beloved SD friends...We in Las Vegas could have told you it's not -all- that, at Sonic! We have them all over the city here, and to me, they are good for slushies/desserts and that's about IT. The burgers are flavorless. The fries are so-so. The chicken sandwich can be good, but it's not allways. Breakfast is a bit better, but still greasy.
                            My aunt who's up in Lancaster LOVES Sonic, but she eats like a 6-year old..LOL (I tease her about it, as well) But she also loves the fact at hers' they run alot of cheap eats specials, from 4-6pm. Their family can pig out for about $10, and that makes my stingy uncle very happy. LOL

                            They do make a very good limeade, only one better is at Hot Dog on a Stick at the mall.

                            Serious, around the block?? Just WOW.

                            1. That happened in Amercian Canyon (near Napa) when it opened. As mentioned, being bombarded for years by advertising when the nearest Sonic was Fresno ... you finally got to check it out. Also, as mentioned, I needed to see if it was as bad as mentioned.

                              It's been a few months and the lines are mostly gone, except during happy hour for the 1/2 price drinks.

                              1. We could replicate this very same thread, change all the dates to 2002 or 2003, & replace the words "Sonic" with "Krispy Kreme," & the thread would be identical. And look where they are today.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alanstotle


                                  But I do think there is a greater product differential between warm KKs and cold Sunny's donuts.

                                2. We had Sonic back east, and it was truly horrible. I could not imagine waiting in line for it. It all tasted like it had been under a heat lamp for around an hour. There are just too many great places to eat here without waiting in line for Sonic.