Favorite

Get out of that car 

EAT IN: At new Sonic.
  • EAT IN: At new Sonic.
The Sonic fast-food restaurant scheduled to open May 12 on Cantrell Road in Little Rock is the first of its kind in Arkansas — and only the third of its kind in the nation — to forego the franchise’s signature drive-in feature and invite diners to eat inside. Situated on a busy retail strip in the Riverdale neighborhood, the location originally was slated for a traditional Sonic. However, both the Little Rock Planning Commission and Board of Directors in 2003 denied the zoning variance required to allow a drive-in after neighbors (including Max Brantley, editor of the Arkansas Times) raised objections about light and noise from multiple loudspeakers. How significant is this departure? Sonic’s corporate tagline is “America’s Drive-In.” (You’ll still be able to pick up an order at a drive-by window.) But the dining experience at the new Little Rock establishment will still be familiar to regular Sonic customers, promises Chris McKeever, the marketing manager in the corporation’s Oklahoma City headquarters. Instead of sitting in a car and ordering food over the intercom, diners will go inside and pick up a phone at a table to place an order. Servers will bring the food to the table, just as they would to a car at a more typical Sonic. “You get the same kind of car hop experience that way,” McKeever said. “The food is no different, it’s the same menu.” This eat-in model is already being used at one location in Phoenix, and at another next door to the national office in Oklahoma City. It is more practical for urban areas, where viable properties are smaller and fewer people have cars. Sonic may also want to build eat-in restaurants in cities with colder climates. “We would love to go into those Northern markets,” McKeever said. “That is something we are looking at.” However, it may take some time for Arkansans to get used to the new concept, because in many small towns around the state, the Sonic drive-in is a hub of social activity. High school students congregate at many of them, driving laps around the restaurant and decreeing a particular side of the parking lot the “cool” place to pull in. At least one Little Rock resident was skeptical of the eat-in Sonic. “The attraction to Sonic has always been the style of service,” said Martin Bynum, who cruised Sonic while growing up in Pine Bluff. “It was cool and different to be served in your car like that. Changing that almost changes the complete identity of the restaurant. You can get a hamburger anywhere, so having to go inside to eat goes against the whole reason of going to a Sonic in my opinion.” McKeever said, however, that the company has been pleased with its two existing eat-in restaurants.
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Warwick Sabin

  • Helena's disappearing buildings

    Preservationists hope to slow demolitions.
    • Mar 22, 2007
  • Trailers headed to Dumas

    Gov. Mike Beebe issued the following statement earlier today: Although this decision by FEMA to deny emergency funds to Desha County defies common sense, Arkansas will take care of its own people.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • Youth Ranch robbed, vandalized

    According to a press release we just received: The Donald W. Reynolds Campus of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (The Ranch) located near Fort Smith was vandalized overnight Thursday.  Items stolen during the break-in included all of the children’s saddles, food, tools and supplies from The Ranch’s carpentry shop and all equipment from its auto shop.  An investigation is underway with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Kanis development decried

    Fletcher Hollow wrong place for density, neighbors tell LR planners.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation