After an initial meeting with community members in the summer of 2011, non-stop rumors, and months of red tape, it's "game on" for Sonic. Today at 1pm, there was a ceremonial ground-breaking at the future site of the first Sonic Drive-In in Chicago.
You may have noticed the green construction fence around the lot on the northeast corner of Kenmore and Wilson. Bulldozers have already made short work of the wrought iron fence, asphalt, and light poles that were in the lot. Nothing else has been there since the early 1980s. Even less is there today.
But all that's about to change. Within three months, there'll be a Sonic drive-in there.
Promptly at 1pm, ceremonial shovels were distributed, Sonic-branded hard hats went on, and a few clumps of dirt were displaced. Ald. Cappleman and Seth Wolken, Vice President of Sonic franchisee Boom Enterprises, made brief remarks. Also on hand were Mark Kinnare of Boom Enterprises, Alyssa Berman-Cutler of Uptown United, Keith McCormick of Business Partners, and Abby Sullivan of the 46th Ward service office, as well as about 30 interested neighbors. Jim Williams of Channel 2/CBS showed up with a cameraman and spent time doing interviews.
According to a press release from Sonic, the store will be under construction for approximately three months with plans to open in the first quarter of 2014.
The press release continues: "The new Chicago drive-in will feature a dining room with such amenities as a fireplace, free Wi-Fi, an outside covered patio, a double drive thru and nine stalls for curbside service from SONIC’s famous skating Carhops. Once open, the restaurant expects to hire between 75 and 100 employees." You can read more details about Sonic's first "urban design" on UU's post from last December.
The CBS/2 report ran during the 5pm newscast. The link to the story is here, and the video is below.