Dining With Denise Neil

What happened to the Sonic on East Central?

The Sonic on East Central should reopen by the end of December or beginning of January.
The Sonic on East Central should reopen by the end of December or beginning of January. The Wichita Eagle

People who frequent East Central have noticed something missing from the landscape.

A couple of months ago, the Sonic that has long operated at 5429 E. Central disappeared, leaving an empty lot in its place.

The restaurant, it turns out, was targeted by the Sonic corporate headquarters for a fate that sounds violent but is really for the best:

Scrape and build.

The Sonic was literally scraped off the earth in early September so that crews could rebuild it into an updated, modern Sonic with a drive-through. The chain is attempting to give all of its restaurants that don’t already have drive throughs the scrape-and-build treatment, said Jeff Dovers, who oversees several Sonic restaurants in the Wichita area.

If the winter weather cooperates, Dovers said, the Sonic will be rebuilt and back in operation by late December or early January.

Usually, the build part of a scrape and build takes only about three months, Dovers said. But when the scrape on East Central was completed, crews discovered that the original Sonic had been built on a lot that once was occupied by a house, and the basement was still there. It had been filled with concrete, but before they could continue, crews had to dig out the concrete and fill the basement in properly.

Dovers said the Sonic at Harry and Rock also has been targeted for a scrape and build, but the lot it sits on is too small to add a drive through, Dovers said. Sonic is hunting for property in the neighborhood where it could move the restaurant.

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