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Sonic Warms Up To Chicago

By Hanna Aronovich in Food on Sep 13, 2006 3:38PM

McDonald’s better watch its back ‘cause Sonic might just zoom into town. Earlier this week, the Tribune reported Sonic drive-ins are inching closer to Chicago, with one scheduled to open this month in Bartonville (thanks to partners Dan Kouri and Doug Peterson). soniclogo.jpg

Although Sonic operates more than 3,000 restaurants, almost half of those are in Oklahoma and Texas. As heard around the Chicagoist offices: In Oklahoma, Sonic is “in even the shittiest of tiny towns.” It makes sense, seeing as Sonic is based in Oklahoma, but the rest of the country has been slow to get that Sonic love.

However, expansion is around the corner (more "anal salty weiner bugers" for everyone!). The chain recently opened locations in Oregon and Pennsylvania, and about 200 new restaurants are scheduled to open within the next few years. Just this week, Sonic hosted its annual franchisee convention at Navy Pier.

With the concept centered on the drive-in and carhop appeal, Sonic has previously favored the warmer-weather climates. However, southern Illinois is already home to several Sonic locations – with the closest in Champaign – and Kouri and Peterson are already looking to expand along I-80, toward Chicago.

Unlike McDonald’s, Sonic has posted 20 straight years of sales growth, and we could see Sonic fitting in just fine in Chicago. It sounds Sonic good to us.