Sonic
Sonic has more than 3,500 locations in 45 states.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • Sonic is an American fast-food institution.
  • While the Oklahoma City-based chain has millions of loyal customers, neither of us had ever visited the drive-in chain before.
  • We visited Sonic for the first time while in its home state, and we saw firsthand why fans love the chain.

Pretty much everyone has heard or seen a Sonic commercial .

And with more than 3,500 Sonic locations in 45 states, the majority of Americans have likely eaten at one as well. However, despite our vast experience and best intentions, Sonic has remained a gaping hole in our fast-food repertoire.

Never had the neon-blue waves of the famous Ocean Water slush lapped our lips, nor had we dined on the intimidating Footlong Chili Cheese Coney hot dog.

So on a recent road trip to the chain’s base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, we decided to end our ignorance once and for all. Here’s what we discovered on our lofty culinary quest:

1/15

Sonic’s iconic drive-up layout is a common sight in the Midwest and South — but this was a first for us. However, it’s pretty straightforward: drive up to the individual ordering kiosk, choose what you want, and voilà, your order is brought to your car by a smiling carhop.

Sonic's iconic drive-up layout is a common sight in the Midwest and South — but this was a first for us. However, it's pretty straightforward: drive up to the individual ordering kiosk, choose what you want, and voilà, your order is brought to your car by a smiling carhop. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

2/15

There’s also some seating available for those who want to enjoy their food “en plein air,” but in-car eating seems to be the preferred choice. Plus, the food is engineered to be convenient and handheld for on-the-go ease.

There's also some seating available for those who want to enjoy their food Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

3/15

Sonic has a pretty extensive menu, so it’s hard to get a concise crosscut of the chain’s most popular items. On our original trip to Sonic, we followed the recommendations of our editor, a native Oklahoman.

Sonic has a pretty extensive menu, so it's hard to get a concise crosscut of the chain's most popular items. On our original trip to Sonic, we followed the recommendations of our editor, a native Oklahoman. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

4/15

We were told the Ocean Water slush was a mandatory choice, upon risk of termination — and we can see why. It’s no sickeningly salty gulp of the Atlantic; it’s an alluring, pleasantly confusing flavor of lemon-lime soda and mellow coconut.

We were told the Ocean Water slush was a mandatory choice, upon risk of termination — and we can see why. It's no sickeningly salty gulp of the Atlantic; it's an alluring, pleasantly confusing flavor of lemon-lime soda and mellow coconut. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Weeks later, we’re still craving this refreshing seaside sipper. The mellow, tropical vibe can best be described as tasting like how sunscreen smells, but … delicious.

5/15

Sonic is well-known for its drink options and the variety therein. Its most recent bizarre beverage experiment is the plutonium-green Pickle Juice slush. The process of drinking this drink only ends in the loss of one’s faith in one’s own judgement.

Sonic is well-known for its drink options and the variety therein. Its most recent bizarre beverage experiment is the plutonium-green Pickle Juice slush. The process of drinking this drink only ends in the loss of one's faith in one's own judgement. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  1. Assume the drink will taste…