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 Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Since 1972, the kitchen at The Blue Lantern has filled plates with an array of steak, seafood, and comfort-food dishes. The chefs batter or pan-fry lake perch, mix lobster meat into a five-cheese macaroni, and expertly sear 8-ounce Lamplighter steaks that were traditionally used to illuminate alleys in Charles Dickens novels. As a nod to Notre Dame, whose campus is only 10 minutes away, The Blue Lantern's lounge screens sporting events while surrounding alumni, fans, and students with memorabilia and drawings of the school's best coaches and players. The main dining room is decorated with images of Mishawaka and the New York City skyline around intimate table settings. Electric blue light bathes up to 48 attendees during private soirees in the Blue Neon Room, which includes its own bar, wide-screen television, and outdoor balcony.
Staffed by a medical team that includes board-certified eye surgeons as well as facial plastic surgeons, Michiana Eye Center & Facial Plastic Surgery helps patients not only improve the way they see the world but also the way the world sees them. Ophthalmologists and optometrists routinely tackle imparities such as nearsightedness and cataracts with appointments ranging from routine eye exams to laser vision correction. The center's Optical Shoppe houses highly trained opticians who help match patrons with prescription eyewear, contact lenses, or designer monocles. Clients hoping to enhance their appearances sans new eyewear can swing by for skincare services by a licensed aesthetician or plastic surgery by Dr. Adam Cohen.
Dr. Kevin E. Young and his staff set their sights on holistic dental health with comprehensive aesthetic, periodontal, and preventative services. The tooth technicians go after signs of decay and other potential issues at their literal roots with thorough cleanings and routine exams. Fluorescent lasers courtesy of Diagnodent pinpoint tooth decay with more than 90% accuracy, and dental x-rays reveal developmental abnormalities and hollowed-out molars where tooth fairies keep their coins. The staff also brightens smiles with a variety of cosmetic services, including light-activated Zoom! whitening treatments, porcelain crowns, and bridges. Dr. Young combats periodontal disease with treatments tailored to each patient and dresses damaged teeth in restorative filings, caps, or full and partial dentures.
Strikes & Spares Entertainment Center regales visitors of all sizes with a venue chiming with clattering pins, zooming go-karts, and flashy arcade games. The dazzling array of attractions lures visitors to the emerald alleyways of nine-hole black-light mini golf, a stable of cosmic and bumper bowling, and a new stock-car-racing simulator replete with a variety of virtual tracks and a digital milk-chugging station for the victor. Kids safely navigate the twisting labyrinth of the indoor go-kart tracks on eco-friendly electric steeds, and adults decompress with billiards, darts, and frosty brews on tap at Keglers Sports Bar. After enjoying outings at the prize-laden arcade or at the slick bowling lanes, groups can settle down with pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream at the diner.
When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.