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, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Located northeast of Savannah, Georgia, Hilton Head Island hugs the southern coast of South Carolina. The waters surrounding the shoe-shaped island’s sparkling beaches are a popular playground for kayakers, yachters, and bottlenose dolphins that come near the shore to feed. Golf is also a major draw; dozens of courses are scattered throughout Hilton Head, and it’s the site of an annual event on the PGA tour. Despite the island’s tiny size, it boasts more than 200 restaurants, serving both Lowcountry southern cuisine and gourmet international fare. The town of Bluffton, located near the hotel, supplies a cultural outlet via its art galleries, antique museums, and preserved antebellum discos.
Although Cathryn “Chef C” Matthes began life as an overweight child, she favored healthy cooking early in her culinary career. She turned toward nutritious foods and recipes, and eventually earned recognition from Southern Living magazine, SpaFinder magazine, and the New York Daily News for her healthful and delicious foods. Today, Chef C helms DelisheeeYo, adhering to her health-conscious mission while preparing light lunch fare and frozen yogurt.
DelisheeeYo’s frozen yogurt menu includes one flavor: tart original. Packed with probiotics, this low-fat and lower-sugar yogurt swirls into 3-, 5-, and 7-ounce cups or 10-gallon cowboy hats when no one’s looking. A toppings bar, packed with everything from fresh fruit to housemade chocolate-chipotle-cinnamon syrup, dresses up yogurt to each customer’s liking. The chef and staff hand-select organic apples, strawberries, and blueberries from local and organic sources when available, and avoid high-fructose corn syrup by importing all of their chocolates and caramels.
Though the yogurt is DelisheeeYo’s specialty, Chef C doesn’t stop there. Organic greens, peppers, garbanzo beans, and cheeses fill a vegan salad bar. Whole-wheat flour tortillas wrap themselves around nut butter, banana, and honey, or transform into a Trojan Horse to surround hummus and Greek olives. The chef helps customers wash down meals by concocting refreshing specialty drinks from ingredients such as organic Italian lemon juice and agave nectar.