Sonic might offer a Chicago-style hot dog on its menu, but it doesn’t have a location within the city’s limits.
Its Chicago-metro properties are in towns such as Cicero, Franklin Park and Villa Park, which is fitting because Sonic’s setup definitely lends itself to a suburban environment. The drive-through window, the massive parking lot, the eat-in-your-car throwback to drive-inmovies--none of it really seems to fit in a bustling metropolitan area where residents' first travel option is public transportation.
But all that’s about to change. Sonic plans to open a new location in Uptown--more specifically at the empty lot on Kenmore and Wilson. Expect to see it in August 2013--at the earliest.
As unexpected as the location might seem, it was actually very well thought-out. James Cappleman, 46th Ward Alderman, said that there were two main factors in Sonic’s decision to select the Uptown neighborhood: the huge success of the area’s Target, and the $230 million rehab of the Wilson L Station. Sonic believes both will drive a great deal of traffic to the new location.
“Sonic has a huge fan base,” Cappleman said. “People are very excited; feedback has been positive.”
According to Cappleman, certain changes will be made to the location to make it more accessible for urbanites.
“It’s interesting because they focused on suburbs. This will be the first designed for an urban area,” he said.
Forty percent of the area’s residents do not own a car, Cappleman said, and this Sonic location will accommodate pedestrians.
“They want to attract urbans,” he said. “I hope it takes off in other areas.”
Instead of the huge parking lot that characterizes most Sonics, the new Uptown restaurant will be situated right next to a sidewalk. It will consist of both an indoor and outdoor area, and while there will still be the trademark drive-through windows and space for cars to park, Cappleman suspects customers will prefer to enjoy their meals in the outdoor seating area. After all, this is Chicago--and if there’s one thing that makes a restaurant appealing to our locals, it’s the chance to dine al fresco.
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