I love Sonic. Every time their ads come on TV, I find myself drooling at the unique food and drink combinations advertised as part of their extensive menu. Fresh fruit limeades? Tater tots with cheese? Sandwiches served on Texas Toast? Delicious. Sign me up. Happy hour, sign me up too.

There’s just one problem with my “loving” Sonic: I’ve never actually eaten at one. In fact, I swear to you, I don’t think I’ve ever actually even SEEN a Sonic. For me, they are the Abominable Snowman of the fast food world – each passing glimpse or rumor I hear tempts me to pursue this elusive fast food beast. But no matter how much grainy Sonic video footage I see or reports I receive of where the nearest Sonic is, I never actually get close enough to one for it to be in my grasp.

No big deal right? There are hundreds, if not thousands of regional chains that I have never even heard of, that I’m also missing out on. But here’s the difference: THOSE CHAINS ARE NOT ADVERTISING ON NATIONAL TV. Each and every Sonic ad I see on TV is like a miniature punch to the balls from a hyper active 4 year old. It’s as if Sonic corporation themselves are saying to me, “Hey Jon, doesn’t this look good? It does, doesn’t it? Well good luck finding one! Hahahahaha.”

How dare you Sonic. And for those who think I am a Johnny Come Lately to the Sonic curiousity/anger train, quite the contrary. This has been a serious issue for me since about age 12. I grew up in Vermont, about 90 minutes from the Canadian border, and remember seeing Sonic ads as a kid. All through my childhood, I assumed Sonic was a Canadian chain. How else to explain the fact that I always saw their ads but had never actually been to one?

So where are these elusive Sonics? Well a map from their website shows they are heavily concentrated in the South and Southwest.

Notice anything about the map that jumps out? How about the fact that there are ZERO Sonic’s, even to this day, anywhere in New England or New York? WTF Sonic? Why are you advertising in New York or New England if you don’t have any stores there? Even now, living in Washington, DC, I am bombarded with your ads, but lacking a car to get far enough out to the suburbs, I STILL haven’t even been able to try Sonic.

Trust me, my desire to try Sonic is not for a lack of effort. In 2003, my girlfriend at the time and I drove cross country. From New York to Chicago to Kansas City then to Los Angeles. Sonic was very much top of mind on that trip – if I had noticed one anywhere near a meal time, I planned on being all over it. Surely on a cross country drive I stumbled across a Sonic while hungry right? Well, on the leg of the trip from Saratoga to Chicago, no Sonics.

From Chicago to Kansas City, there are 7 Sonic’s, mostly concentrated around KC. But did I manage to see any of them? Nope.

Kansas City to the Grand Canyon turns out to be a treasure trove of Sonics, but once again, I noticed none.

So yeah. 10 years of tempting ads, a cross country drive and still no Sonic for me. And for those of you wondering, yes, I did take the time to plug the results from the Sonic store locater into Mapquest. Um, yeah, because I’m just THAT into bitching about Sonic. You have no idea the mental anguish this has caused me over the years. I want to roll into a Sonic and order every single item on the menu, stuff my face, and roll up to the window to order more.

Sonic! Why must you torture me so? When you started advertising your tater tots with chili and cheese, it was if every time I turned on the television I was being waterboarded by Sonic. Have you no sense of decency Sonic? Isn’t showing these ads to people who can’t find a Sonic a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention against torture? Doesn’t the constitution prevent cruel and unusual punishment?

To make things worse, your witty commercials featuring improv-ed banter between two people in a car are actually GOOD ads! Arrgggggggh! Good ads, delicious menu and I still haven’t been able to try you!

Here’s the deal Sonic: I’m not asking you to stop making delicious burgers or asking your food scientists to stop making interesting creations. Goodness no. From all appearances, you are doing the Lord’s work over there. But please, there are tens of thousands of people out there just like me, and I am speaking on their behalf, as their voice: STOP RUNNING NATIONAL ADS. Until there is a Sonic readily available to each and every person, north, south, east and west, it is simply un-American for you to torture people by running commercials in regions where there are no Sonics.

So Sonic, unless you want to send a professional car service to take me the 30 or 40 miles to the closest Sonic to me in Virginia, I beg of you: end the torture. END THE TORTURE NOW. Stop running national ads, at least on a temporary basis, until I get a chance to finally sample your delicious menu.


Committee to End National Sonic Advertising Until Eick Has Been to One (CENSA UEHBO)

62 Responses

  1. Dave

    Like you, I’ve always lived in the Northeast, and seen Sonic commercials. We did find the one near the Grand Canyon – except it’s (no joke) near a ghost town about 2 hours south. One opened near my daughter’s house in PA -well, near being within 30 miles – so we made the pilgramage. When we got there, it is (AGAIN! NO JOKE) llegal to turn left into the store from the road! I got a ticket! For lusting after Tater Tots!
    BTW – drinks rock, food not so much – or maybe it was indigestion from the ticket…

  2. Shane

    Another restaurant that does this: Red Robin. I live in North Carolina, and have never even seen a Red Robin, yet their commercials frequently appear on my television. Luckily, we have a Sonic, so it’s not that terrible.

  3. Craig

    There is a Sonic in Peabody, MA and another one opening in the Boston area within a week. Sonic has stores open or opening in PA, NJ, CT, MI, ND and MT.

  4. Christina

    Well I don’t have a Jack In The Box around here and they love to advertise here. I went to California a couple years ago and I demand a In and Out and Jack in Kansas City. And Bueno Taco Bueno.

    But we do have America’s drive in around here. Sonic is delicious I can promise you that. When one does finally open in your area I suggest the grilled chicken club toaster, chili cheese tots and dr. pepper with chocolate flavoring. If you’re not into the custom dr. pepper, go ahead and try the cherry limeade. It’s great.

  5. kristen

    I am surprised to hear about Sonic being elusive, but it’s very similar to the old A & W Drive-Ins. I personally think A & W did a much better job.

    The servers wear roller skates and you can order at the menu board or in the drive thru lane.

    Here is what is good:

    Diet Limeade (my fav)
    Diet Cherry Limeade (somewhat sweeter)
    Ocean Water (amazing, but there are no diet options)
    Tots – w/cheese or without
    Cream Slush (ice cream blended with slushie)
    Blast – ice cream dessert, like blizzard

    I think they make a terrible burger and I’ve yet to have a good Texas toast sandwich there. I’ve tried a few times.

    I find the ice cream to be grainy and textured compared to Twistee Treat or Dairy Queen. They do a good job with the blended options though like the cream slush and blast.

    I LOVE that they do the happy hour from 2-4 on weekdays. You get half price beverages.

    I wouldn’t go out of your way for Sonic, but if you are near one, give them a try. My daughter loves the hot dogs, and the grilled cheese isn’t bad either.

  6. kristen

    One more thing.. my favorite actual foods there are the cheddar poppers and mozzarella sticks. They also stick a mint into each bag. Unfortunately, if you’re ordering for four people that will be four people splitting one mint. Be sure to ask for extras!

  7. helizond

    “How about the fact that there are ZERO Sonic’s…”
    That was really a deal breaker and sincerely kept me from reading the rest of the post.
    Being a blogger does not give you any right to kill the English language, and you must be aware that you’ll have a following.
    On the other hand… I really dislike Sonic’s ads; despise would be more correct. However, I do like their food, especially the Footlong Quarter pound Coney and Tots.
    Now, I find it rather interesting that for so many years you’ve heard –and might even drooled– about Sonic products and never taken the chance to GO find about it!

  8. red

    Shane, actually there’s a red robin in Mooresville NC, so I’m pretty sure they are in more populated areas like Raleigh.
    Kristen- Ocean Waters can be diet, they’re just not on the menu, we can make any flavored drink diet, and actually Sonic now has the exact same ice cream as Dairy Queen and we clean our machines more often then the DQ’s close to use, which means we’re serving a better, cleaner product and technically, mints are supposed to be given with every item ordered besides a kids meal. So if all the four people in your car order something, they should get a mint, because EVERY customer is worth a MINT! ;D

  9. Chelshea Moore

    As someone who grew up in Oklahoma, I would just like to say my first word was “tots” in response to my mother asking me (at our local Sonic) what I wanted for a snack. They have been and remain my favorite fast food chain, ever.

  10. Freddie Beasley

    I feel this to this day, I grew up in the south with Sonic right down the road, it is so delicious, now that I am in Virginia in a town where the closest one is an hour away, I hate seeing the commercials over and over, just because if I want some I have to drive 2 hours just get it, 1 hour each way.AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHGGGGHHHH, and the food really is that gooooooddd …AAAAAAAHHHGGGH


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