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.
Executive chef Mathew Slack, winner of the Statesman Journal 's 2009 Best of Readers Poll, serves up savory Italian comestibles in a friendly dining environment. The menu hosts au pair Italian cuisine such as the garlic-cream-tossed gemelli pasta with grilled chicken ($15), or the grilled top-sirloin steak medallions, which ride a moped of roasted garlic and herbs through a fountain of garlic-marsala au jus ($18). Besides by-the-book Italian, this freight train of tummy temptation picks up cues from its Western Pacific tracks via pan-fried trout stuffed with tomato and sage ($17.75). Whether meeting imported spaghetti-slurpers at the hotel or taking in some local leisure with a domestic date, The Garlic Onion delights with delicacies from the hands of a victual virtuoso.
Though diners could do the math to figure out how many custom burger combinations are possible at The Original WOW! Burger, eating one of the juicy, custom creations is a much better way to figure it out. At Wow!, Diners design their perfect burger from the bun up, starting with three bun styles baked fresh every morning. Those include a gluten-free option and a lettuce-cup option for anyone who prefers a bread-free burger. Chefs then add the diner's choice of patty from the veggie, hormone-free beef, turkey, and chicken selections.
But this is where things get really interesting. Chefs then pile customer choices from 17 toppings, which range from classic ketchup to green chilies and dried cranberries. Six cheeses and 10 sauces are also part of the equation, as are special Wow! It level toppings such as pineapple, turkey chili, and slices of Spam. Should you ever not feel like making all those decisions, there's also a roster of the chefs' favorite burgers combinations to order from. They include a turkey burger cooked in a cinnamon-chipotle rub and a maple bacon burger, which combines breakfast and lunch into a novel meal some people might refer to as lunchkfast.
The young chefs have traded in their kitchen whites for cheery red and blue T-shirts, and their energetic chatter permeates the pizza parlor, where they work together to create unique pies. They dapple rounds of dough with boundary-pushing ingredients that range from alligator sausage and marinated steak to spicy peanut sauce and noodles. This dedication to whipping up peculiar pizzas—as well as pastas, sandwiches, and wings—is part of Pizza Schmizza’s mission to foster a relaxed, whimsical dining experience for everyone who sidles up to their counter. This family-friendly, merry environment helped earn the homegrown business more than 20 locations across the Pacific Northwest, making Pizza Schmizza franchises as easy to find as the Space Needle in a haystack.