Sonic boom! Burgers on skates come to LI

Hundreds of people and cars lined up along Deer Park Avenue in North Babylon to get a taste of LI's first Sonic fast-food fare. Videojournalists: Staff (April 25, 2011)

It's something that hasn't been seen on Long Island for decades -- burgers delivered to customers' cars by chipper, roller-skating servers. Sonic Drive-In, the '50s-style fast-food chain, opened for business at 9 a.m. Monday and by noon, the place was overflowing with customers.

The 22 drive-up spaces were all occupied, and the line of cars waiting for a space or to order at the drive-through window stretched through the adjacent La Grande Place shopping center, around Garnet Street and back up Deer Park Avenue in North Babylon.

Pedestrians were having no better luck. All 16 tables on the eat-in patio were taken, and nearly 150 people waited on line for the chance to order Sonic's signature burgers, foot-long hot dogs, fries, tater tots, burritos, shakes and a vast array of cold drinks that Sonic concocts from a palette of sodas, fruit juices and flavorings.

There are more than 3,500 Sonics all over the country, but North Babylon is the Oklahoma-based company's first location on Long Island. Bob Fanelli, chief operating officer of Cinos (try spelling it backward), the franchisee formed to operate this and all subsequent Sonics in Nassau and Suffolk, said that "Long Island is such a great market for Sonic. Now people don't have to drive to New Jersey or Pennsylvania." Cinos plans to open 10 more Sonics on Long Island; he hoped that the next one would open within a year.

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