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Sonic to debut new look at busy OKC intersection

A new prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins is being proposed for the northeast corner of NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue and includes an upgraded outdoor dining area. Provided.
A new prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins is being proposed for the northeast corner of NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue and includes an upgraded outdoor dining area. Provided.

Sonic Drive-ins could start looking a little different than what you grew up with, and Oklahoma City will be one of the first to catch glimpse of that future.

An application to the city’s Urban Design Commission indicates an updated design of a new Sonic restaurant at NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue started shortly after the chain was sold for $2.3 billion to Inspire Brands.

Inspire also owns Arby’s, Jimmy John’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Renderings replace a prior design approved by the city when the previous restaurant was closed during the final days preceding the corporate sale in 2018.

A city staff report recommends approval of the changes with the exception of added graphics on the side of the building that exceed allowed signage.

"The redesign of the building and the proposed signage are tied to a new rebranding effort by the new owner of Sonic, Inspire," city staff wrote. "In this effort, Sonic has created a new prototypical design for future drive-ins. With the year-long design project now complete, Sonic hopes its newly designed drive-ins will become a dining oasis for its customers."

The application to the city shows the drive-through being switched from one ordering lane to two, as has happened at area McDonald’s and Braum’s restaurants.

The basic Sonic patio is also being upgraded. Tables and chairs will include umbrellas with a patio railing topped with planter boxes. String lights will be draped over the sitting area.

The application reveals the carhop stalls will be changed to 16-degree angled canopies. A new drive-through window tower is proposed to be topped with a neon sign shaped like a cherry.

Records maintained by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments show the intersection of NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue sees an average of more than 22,000 vehicles daily, making it one of the city’s busier commercial corridors. The revised plans are scheduled to be presented to the Urban Design Commission on Wednesday.

Related Photos
<strong>A city staff report advises the Urban Design Commission to deny graphics, shown in this rendering, proposed as part of a prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins to be built at NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Provided.</strong>

A city staff report advises the Urban Design Commission to deny graphics, shown in this rendering, proposed as part of a prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins to be built at NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Provided.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6ffabdcfbf6554fd8420166e88f7581b.jpg" alt="Photo - A city staff report advises the Urban Design Commission to deny graphics, shown in this rendering, proposed as part of a prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins to be built at NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Provided. " title=" A city staff report advises the Urban Design Commission to deny graphics, shown in this rendering, proposed as part of a prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins to be built at NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Provided. "><figcaption> A city staff report advises the Urban Design Commission to deny graphics, shown in this rendering, proposed as part of a prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins to be built at NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Provided. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-128be13b719abc757dec95cfa1605f0a.jpg" alt="Photo - A new prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins is being proposed for the northeast corner of NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue and includes an upgraded outdoor dining area. Provided. " title=" A new prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins is being proposed for the northeast corner of NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue and includes an upgraded outdoor dining area. Provided. "><figcaption> A new prototype for Sonic Drive-Ins is being proposed for the northeast corner of NW 23 and Pennsylvania Avenue and includes an upgraded outdoor dining area. Provided. </figcaption></figure>
Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

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