SONIC is the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in America. With modest roots as a hamburger and root beer stand founded in 1953 in Shawnee, Okla., called Top Hat Drive-In, the name was changed to SONIC in 1959. The first drive-in to adopt the SONIC name is still serving customers in Stillwater, Okla. and today the chain
Milepost 111 Brewing Company keeps the libations theme going by pouring more than 20 regional beers from its taps. But it's not just known for its Pacific-Northwest-only brews. A large menu brims with everything from crab cakes and black bean burgers to NY steak and teriyaki chicken sandwiches. During breakfast, the brewery serves up omelets and buttermilk pancakes, and a children's menu complete with macaroni and cheese and hot dogs keeps kids from developing an expensive filet mignon habit. A large back deck looks out onto some pretty majestic mountain vistas, and at times playing host to local musicians. Before Milepost 111 Brewing Company occupied its current space, the location served as a winery, and before that, a Chevrolet dealership and a Cascade Helicopter facility.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,400 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade mixers.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Diners sink into tufted dining chairs, preparing for a sumptuous meal as the restaurant's rich, Old World–inspired decor gives them their first hint of the eatery’s dedication to tradition. In the kitchen, gifted chefs summon fresh Italian ingredients that inspire a classic dinner menu, stacking plates with lasagna, stuffed ravioli, and simmering veal marsala. Brunello also boasts a sommelier who can deftly hand-select wines from across Italy to pair with dinner or to pour into a bathtub thus replicating the wine-filled canals of Venice.
Coho Cafe's two locations help their diners fight the weather—whatever that might be. In the winter, large rock fireplaces send heat bouncing off curved architecture and metal art while stomachs warm with Southwestern spices. In the summer, cool Pacific breezes fan guests on the outdoor patios while they sip cocktails and sink into cod tacos. But no matter what the temperature outside, there's an undeniable flair to the restaurant's Northwestern seafood. It's something viewers of KING 5's Evening Magazine have noticed too—they've lauded Coho for having the best New American cuisine in western Washington four times since 2008.
The cornerstone of these accolades is the kitchens' culinary restlessness. The executive chefs of both locations revamp the Fresh Sheets menu of weekly specials every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. What results are bold plates such as pit-roasted salmon cooked over apple wood, and stir-fried coconut green curry with prawns and ginger-jasmine rice. Each bite pairs with a Northwestern wine as well—a fitting drink for any season.
Fischer Meats has been selecting, stocking, smoking, and slicing fresh meats for more than 100 years. Since 1910, the shop's staff has aided customers in filling their freezers, tables, and underground bunkers with quality beef, poultry, and seafood, paired with marinades, rubs, and recipes. The shop makes preparing meaty meals easy by putting together meat packages as well as curing and smoking cuts. Handmade jerky comes in both spicy and sweet varieties.