Diversions

Sonic rolls into Westland

By Chris Austin

Caustin908@my.madonna.edu

Until recently, Sonic Drive-In restaurants were somewhat of an urban legend in Michigan. Their commercials constantly plastered our television screens, but a trip to the nearest location would force you to cross state lines and drive nearly three hours to get there. That all changed a few years back when the first Sonic location opened in Southgate. Since then, locations have popped up all around the Metro-Detroit area with the latest addition located in Westland.

One of the real appeals of Sonic is the old-time drive-in feel where you pull your car up to the speaker box and roll down your window to order. Shortly after, the wait staff coasts through the parking lot on their roller skates to bring your order directly to your window. Okay, so technology has advanced a bit and most of the waiters were wearing roller blades, but I was still excited to see one of the waitresses wearing old fashioned roller skates. The Westland location also sports a drive-thru window for when the weather gets too cold and icy for roller skates. 

Located on the northwest corner of Wayne and Warren roads, entering Sonic was somewhat difficult the first time around. One of the entrances was blocked off, and the other was exit only. Since there was such a high volume of customers, cars were actually directed into a third entrance where they looped around into two lines: Drive-Thru and Dine-In. To get the full Sonic feel, I decided to wait for a parking space to open up so that I could eat in my car. A guide held traffic until a space opened and then allowed cars to pass through until space was full again. In total, I only had to wait in line about five minutes before being directed around and into a parking space.

The menu was pretty basic, featuring burgers, coney dogs and chicken sandwiches in various forms. What was really great, though, was that with a value meal I could choose between tater tots and fries to go with my meal. I decided to go with a Super Sonic cheeseburger (double cheeseburger) and fries. I was actually surprised how good the burger was. It was still hot when it was delivered to my car, it was cooked well and it tasted great. I also liked that they used crushed ice in my drink so that I actually received a cup of soda instead of a quarter of a glass when they use giant cubes of ice. The fries were a little lackluster and tasted like most anything that I could get at a local Coney Island restaurant though. Next time I will try something different and go for the tater tots.

The price of my food was a bit higher than I’d normally pay at McDonalds or Burger King, but not significantly. For a Super Sonic meal (which included the fries and a drink), it cost me about $6.50. That’s not a bad price considering that the burger and fries filled me up enough during a late lunch that I just had a small snack for dinner and was perfectly content.

After my meal, I was too full to get dessert, but I’ll definitely go back for it. The menu offered a wide array of classic treats like sundaes and banana splits to shakes and Sonic Blasts, which are similar to Blizzards from Dairy Queen. I would also love to try one of the classic slushes that are so often featured in Sonic commercials. The person in the car next to me ordered a Banana Split Sundae that looked fantastic, with hot fudge smothering vanilla soft serve and thick banana slices arranged around the outside of the sundae. I’m starting to think that several trips back to Sonic may be needed to fully explore their menu. 

Judging by the popularity of the Sonic Drive-In when I visited, it seems as if these restaurants are here to stay. And hopefully they will continue to expand throughout Metro-Detroit. Sonic offers a wide variety of good food at an affordable price. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, a good burger or dessert, Sonic has something for just about every occasion.