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.
Wine Times 4 obviates lackadaisical sommeliery by offering customers a chance to pair more than 70 kinds of vino with an assortment of light tapas. Escort your fermented grapes to the table for by-the-glass swishing and sipping ($8–$9 on average) while you nibble on samples from the menu, which features quiche ($5.95), cheese plates ($10.95–$14.95), flatbread pizzettas ($9), and more. Wine Times 4 provides free WiFi to streamline emergency conference calls or keep your friends distracted as you steal their wine.
Started by a professional winemaker, the Island Winery crafts fine fermented red, white, and Lowcountry specialty wines from the fruits of the South Carolina coast. The wine and cheese happy hour kicks off in the early evening and includes a glass of wine and light appetizers for all guests. Attendees taste 10 of Island Winery's wines, including the barrel-reserve chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and southern passion sangria. Those opting for the wine flight, held 12:30 p.m.–2:20 p.m., will enjoy an olfactory overload with samples of many of the available imbibing delicacies, and complimentary cheeses cleanse palates and act as rubbery tooth napkins.
Sisters of the New South flaunts its Southern heritage with a menu that highlights fried chicken, collard greens, and other soul-food staples. The restaurant lives by the motto ?real southern cooking,? and its chefs take pride in preparing each dish with the same care that their mothers would have used. Sisters even sells its unique blend of spices through an online store so that customers can re-create the restaurant?s fried chicken or season their bathwater.
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.