Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic Drive In didn’t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959—six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic Drive In specializes in made-to-order American classics, including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and 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 Drive In’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Dedicated to responsible public education and the conservation of endangered and rare animals, the staffers of the Florida International Teaching Zoo tend to a diverse collection of living beings while teaching students to do the same. Amid the rustling feathers of Lady Amherst pheasants and the uncontrollable laughter of spotted hyenas reading the works of Oscar Wilde aloud, the school’s pupils spend days practicing their cage-side manner and stockpiling wildlife know-how through classes and conservation projects around the globe. To round out their tuition, students helm zoo tours for visitors four days a week, practicing their newly minted public-management skills and granting guests a chance to take in the wonders of the natural world in an intimate setting.
Each Eye Doctor?s Optical Outlets location is doctor-owned, uniting the staff with a common vision to sharpen sight and boost eye health. Eye examinations reveal prescriptions and uncover any other ocular problems. After patients choose a new set of lenses, the in-house technicians get to work crafting them in the shop?s own lab rather than sending them off to be made during a summer camp?s arts and crafts day. Sundry designer frames border eyes in looks from Giorgio Armani and Marc Jacobs to Nike and Harley Davidson, and there is usually a trio of technicians in the shop, enabling multiple clients to summon help with a single pigeon call.
Licensed massage therapists Marielle Shoffstall and Vincent Cicchetti join forces under the guise of Therapy Touch Massage, where they focus on treatments that assuage stress and reduce pain. Their soothing repertoire includes a signature custom massage, gentle Swedish strokes, and a more intense deep-tissue massage that targets buried aches. They also relieve mommies-to-be with prenatal treatments, which work to alleviate common maternity issues such as stiff necks, back pain, and the inability to hula-hoop. A variety of Spaaahh Therapies can enhance each treatment with pressure-point reflexology or hot-stone-and-bamboo fusion.
Basking steak, seafood, and vegetables in signature marinades, the cooks at Ay! Jalisco Restaurant enliven taste buds with an array of traditional Mexican dishes. Dining parties can explore the festive setting by smelling the savory aromas and feeling the heat rise off a sizzling fajita plate stacked with fillers, such as pork ribs with a barbecue spice rub or fresh vegetables sautéed in garlic-butter sauce. Perched atop the Ay! Jalisco platter, a surfeit of chicken, beef, and butterfly or brochette shrimp fajitas ends intra-belly yodeling contests with some help from beans, guacamole, and tortillas. Ladles accent bundled bites of burrito, chimichanga, and enchilada with a choice of ranchera, green tomatillo, or red enchilada sauce. Guests can sip from the house margarita's salted brim or save the salt to melt ice sheets off their snowman's sunglasses this winter.
At Tuffy's, motor-vehicle caregivers spruce up patrons' horseless carriages and prepare them for a new season of dutiful service. After installing a new oil filter, auto artisans remove the old sludgy glop clogging the car's arterial system and replace it with up to five quarts of 5W-30 or 5W-20 conventional motor oil (a $31.99 value; diesel or synthetic oil costs extra). The staff will also rotate tires to prepare four-wheeled wonders for safe gliding (a $12 value) and perform an inspection to make sure air-conditioning systems are functioning properly to bring riders to the brink of coolness faster than Fonzie’s leather jacket ($9.99). Finally, a pair of fresh wiper blades (up to 22")—grown locally by organic-blade farmers—supplants worn-out window-rubbers ($22) and a specialist conducts an extensive 41-point maintenance inspection.