SONIC is the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in America. With modest roots as a hamburger and root beer stand founded in 1953 in Shawnee, Okla., called Top Hat Drive-In, the name was changed to SONIC in 1959. The first drive-in to adopt the SONIC name is still serving customers in Stillwater, Okla. and today the chain
Diners sink into tufted dining chairs, preparing for a sumptuous meal as the restaurant's rich, Old World–inspired decor gives them their first hint of the eatery’s dedication to tradition. In the kitchen, gifted chefs summon fresh Italian ingredients that inspire a classic dinner menu, stacking plates with lasagna, stuffed ravioli, and simmering veal marsala. Brunello also boasts a sommelier who can deftly hand-select wines from across Italy to pair with dinner or to pour into a bathtub thus replicating the wine-filled canals of Venice.
At Frankie's Pizza, Italian–style gourmet pies begin with house-made dough prepared daily, topped with fresh cheese and a colorful array of veggies and meats. Cooks sprinkle on cilantro and pile on unique ingredients including pepperoncini and mild italian link sausage, accented with sauces in flavors such as zesty pesto ranch. Frankie's Pizza caters to patrons' individual dietary needs with gluten-free crusts, and provides optional sunbeams for customers who photosynthesize.
Coho Cafe's two locations help their diners fight the weather—whatever that might be. In the winter, large rock fireplaces send heat bouncing off curved architecture and metal art while stomachs warm with Southwestern spices. In the summer, cool Pacific breezes fan guests on the outdoor patios while they sip cocktails and sink into cod tacos. But no matter what the temperature outside, there's an undeniable flair to the restaurant's Northwestern seafood. It's something viewers of KING 5's Evening Magazine have noticed too—they've lauded Coho for having the best New American cuisine in western Washington four times since 2008.
The cornerstone of these accolades is the kitchens' culinary restlessness. The executive chefs of both locations revamp the Fresh Sheets menu of weekly specials every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. What results are bold plates such as pit-roasted salmon cooked over apple wood, and stir-fried coconut green curry with prawns and ginger-jasmine rice. Each bite pairs with a Northwestern wine as well—a fitting drink for any season.