Once you get over the thrill of seeing car-hops skating around a parking lot, the thrill is gone real fast, as soon as you sink your teeth into a Sonic Burger. Is it the worst burger I’ve ever had? Damn near close. It’s the kind of burger you get when you order one up at the wrong place. Like at a state park. Or an ice cream stand.
One afternoon, as we sat in one of about twenty spots, choking on the exhaust of the car next to us, we ordered so much food that two roller girls were dispatched with our bags (there are no trays to hook on your window like on Happy Days.) One girl, ruing the day she ever learned to roller-skate, is overheard complaining to the other:
She: “I hate this job.”
Me: “Hard day?”
She: “They only pay us five dollars an hour.”
Me: “Do people tip?”
She: “Not really.”
People don’t think about tipping at a fast food joint. Especially when the menu has a slot in it for swiping your debit or credit card like at a gas pump. But the car hops are being paid the same minimum wage as if they were waiting tables.
Other than the miserable workers, overcooked burgers (I actually had to send one back because the bun was stale or freezer burnt!) and bad Breakfast Burritos, the hot dogs– New York style with kraut and onions; Chili Cheese, the Chicago (how can they eat them like that?) are fine and the Philly Cheesesteak was okay if inauthentic ( the meat tasted like pot roast). Tater Tots are always fun too. The big thing here seems to be ice cream and all sorts of flavored teas and lime drinks. Oh yeah, and in those drinks is Sonic’s special slow melting ice (I don’t want to know).
Finishing off a Double Stuffed Oreo Sonic Blast (the commercials got me all psyched up on the idea of Oreo filling flavored ice cream, but as I ate it I realized that Oreo filling flavor is just vanilla), it hit me that Sonic is just an ice cream stand on steroids, like Dairy Queen.
But after the lines disappear, the question remains: Will the same Long Islanders who cut you off on the expressway to save a minute on their commute, spend half an hour at a drive-in instead of two minutes at a drive-thru? And will they learn to tip the car hops?
1380 Deer Park Ave.