Sonic silent, but city report confirms we’re getting a drive-in

By Bobby Bryant, Editor,

The cherry has dropped onto the top of the Sonic Drive-In hot fudge sundae Darlington’s been waiting for.

In a report last week to City Council, Darlington City Manager Howard Garland said that the city has issued the initial permits needed to build a Sonic off U.S. 52 near McDonald’s and that work should begin soon.

However … Sonic’s corporate management still won’t publicly confirm that the company has any plans at all to put a restaurant in Darlington.

Anticipation for a Darlington Sonic began Oct. 29, when, at the end of a meeting of county governing boards and councils, Darlington Mayor Gloria Hines made an impromptu announcement. She said the city was getting its first Sonic franchise.

The News & Press asked Sonic’s media-relations department to confirm that – but at the time, the company wouldn’t say completely yes, completely no or completely maybe.

Sonic last fall issued a statement saying, “At this time, Sonic Drive-In does not have confirmed plans to open a new location in Darlington, S.C. However, we are constantly evaluating opportunities to expand in new markets to meet consumer demand, and our goal is to have a Sonic Drive-In convenient to all customers. We think Darlington would make a great market for Sonic.”

Since then, it’s been pretty much common knowledge that Sonic was planning a restaurant off U.S. 52, on or near the site now occupied by a defunct Huddle House restaurant.

But Sonic never officially said so.

Still more confirmation of a Sonic in our near future was provided April 2, when Darlington’s city manager submitted his routine monthly report to City Council. In Garland’s written report for March, he noted: “Initial permits have been pulled for the company that will construct the Sonic Drive-In near the empty Huddle House building on (U.S.) 52. We expect construction to begin within the next 100 days.”

The News & Press contacted Sonic’s corporate headquarters April 3, relayed this information and asked the company if it would now officially confirm that it was coming to Darlington. As of press time five days later, the company had not commented.

Sonic has 3,606 drive-ins located in 45 states.

Author: Rachel Howell

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