As the Sonic Drive-In company announces plans for massive expansion over the next decade, here's a look at some key figures, as well as the food and features that make it a unique fast-food chain. There is already one Sonic Drive-In on Long Island, on Deer Park Avenue in North Babylon. A second location is expected to open in Valley Stream in August, with a third in Nesconset.
It was originally a root beer stand(Credit: James Carbone)
Sonic's history can be traced to 1953 and a small root beer stand called Top Hat in Shawnee, Okla. According to the company's website, in 1959, after successfully operating a handful of Top Hat locations, Troy Smith and partner Charles Pappe christened the existing locations Sonic, a good match for their slogan, "Service at the speed of sound." This is the Sonic Drive-In at 1380 Deer Park Ave., North Babylon.
A second LI Sonic is coming(Credit: AP)
Long Island's relationship with Sonic Drive-In is a bumpy one. The company's only Sonic location opened in 2011 in Deer Park, creating traffic problems on Deer Park Road for weeks. East Meadow citizens and business owners cited that congestion when they opposed a plan to open a drive-in in their community and the project was later nixed. The second Long Island Sonic -- and first in Nassau County -- will open in Valley Stream in August, and a plan for another one in Nesconset has been approved.
Sonic is based in Oklahoma(Credit: Google)
The above Google street view image from 2014 show's Sonic's corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City. Sonic said it runs more than 3,500 drive-ins in 44 states.
There are many, many shake flavors(Credit: Sonic)
Much of Sonic's fast-food-meets-malt-shop vibe can be traced to the company's drinks menu, which includes dozens of soda, slush and milkshake combinations, some of which are not for beginners.
Food is served to you, via roller skates(Credit: James Carbone)
A carhop deliver food to customers on April 14, 2014, at the Sonic Drive In, 1380 Deer Park Ave. in North Babylon. Sonic touts its carhop service as something that helps it stand out. Servers wearing roller skates deliver food as customers wait in their cars.
There are desserts - lots of desserts(Credit: Sonic)
In addition to savory burgers and hot dogs, Sonic is one of the few fast-food chains to offer a deep dessert menu. That includes ice cream shakes, floats, sundaes and cones. It even offers seasonal cakes, including cheesecakes and this Red Velvet Molten Cake Sundae.
44 states, 3,500 SONIC restaurants(Credit: James Carbone)
Menu at the Sonic drive-in restaurant in North Babylon on April 14, 2014. There are more than 3,500 Sonic restaurants in 44 states, according to the company and the average Sonic unit pulled in $1.24 million in sales in fiscal 2015.
Hot dogs are big(Credit: Sonic)
While the burger is the undisputed king of most major fast food chains, Sonic also makes a lot of room on its menu for hot dogs. The restaurant offers seven different hot dogs, including this chili cheese pretzel dog (the bun has a pretzel finish) and a Chicago Dog, which features pickles, tomatoes and hot peppers. According to Sonic, the company sells enough foot-long hot dogs to outline the borders of the contiguous 48 U.S. states.