Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation?s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics?including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts?which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand?s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic?s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top-five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milkshake, and Best Drivethru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through its program [Limeades for Learning](http://www.sonicdrivein.com/About/Community, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
The creative folks behind the counter at Sammich Lab like to experiment. Only instead of beakers and microscopes, they have a kitchen full of fresh, organic ingredients at their disposal, including exotic meats, vegetables, and an arsenal of different spices. Their mixing and matching, slicing and spreading has led to inventive sandwiches, such as the jerked yard bird, a medley of char-grilled chicken, house slaw, sweet and spicy sauce, and fried plantains. But instead of serving such creations with a periodic table for guests to memorize, Sammich Lab also kicks out handcrafted desserts, soups, and home-style sides, such as baked mac and cheese and stuffed collards.
After praising J.R. Crickets' chicken wings, karaoke shindigs, and live music, Metromix went on to declare the late-night-dining destination a place where "[m]odern chic and good times meet." J.R. Crickets' culinary crew lightly fries or grills seafood, slathers baby back ribs in sauce, and carefully calibrates wings to three levels of spiciness. Diners can opt to take feasts to-go or kick back in the eatery, where TVs and live DJs forge an atmosphere as high-spirited as a haunted mountaintop.
It began with a burger. In 2001, entrepreneur Quentin Love wanted to improve his Chicago community by opening a business that would not only create much-needed jobs, but also help his neighbors lead healthier lives. To this aim, he opened his first restaurant, which centered on his newest, healthiest recipe: the jive turkey burger, a bunned treat smothered in grilled onions that contained a fraction of the fat of its beef-laden brethren. The burger proved so popular he began experimenting with a whole range of comfort fare reimagined with turkey. By serving dishes such as turkey tacos, turkey stir-fry, and turkey chops smothered in gravy and onions, Turkey Chop lends diners a healthier way to enjoy classic American eats. But unlike an oven caught in a November time warp, the kitchen has more than turkey—chicken, fish, shrimp, and vegetarian versions of many dishes still help guests avoid fat while savoring guilt-inducing flavors.