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Sonic hopping a day before grand opening

July 11, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Chambersburg's new Sonic Drive-in was hopping Sunday, a day before it was officially open.

The restaurant on Norland Avenue held a "family and friends" event for eight hours as an opportunity to work the kinks out before opening at 8 a.m. Monday. Patrons were supposed to present a flier to access the business during the event, but a number of passers-by also got to try things like cherry limeades, tater tots and footlong hot dogs.

"We were able to accommodate some of the public, so we could challenge our kitchen and control the flow," said Kris Louderback, whose family owns the franchise.

When arriving at Sonic, motorists can head to one of three places. They can park in one of 23 stalls, enter the drive-thru lane or park in the general parking area.

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Individual ordering kiosks are available in each stall. Thirty carhops deliver orders and condiments, and they can make change if customers are paying with cash. Those customers eat in their vehicles.

"It's like your dining room," said Louderback, of Washington County, Md.

People taking advantage of the general parking can sit on a patio, where they, too, have access to an ordering kiosk and delivery.

Will and Tina Confer joined their 14-year-old son, Brandon, for a meal during the special event. They had chicken strips, "Coney" dogs and tater tots.

Rachel Confer, 16, took her family's order.

"We've been hearing all about it," Tina Confer said of the restaurant.

"It seems like a fun atmosphere," Will Confer said.

Deidre Yeager, 17, auditioned last month to be a carhop, hoping that Sonic would be her first job. She has been enjoying camaraderie with colleagues and customers.

"It seems pretty fun, and you get to interact with people," she said.

Kris Louderback said she and her husband, John, were drawn to Sonic because of its family focus and fresh, extensive menu.

"It's not your normal fast-food experience. ... It's fast food with a flair," she said.

Sonic, at 861 Norland Ave., will open at 6 a.m. daily. Closing time is 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

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