Where the hell is it? I've been driving all over Grand Rapids, burned up two tanks of gas, and I still can't find it!
54th and Clyde Park near the Menards. Quote from the Grand Rapids Press: "WYOMING -- The state's first Sonic restaurant might be coming after the City Council again overruled the Planning Commission, this time by rezoning about two acres to allow the possibility of drive-through fast food.
The national chain is looking to make inroads in Michigan, with a franchisee in St. Joseph planning to open 12 stores.
Sonic does not provide indoor seating, using car hops instead. Because of Michigan's winters, the restaurant proposed near a Menards store on Clyde Park Avenue SW would require a drive-through window.
But zoning prohibits drive-through restaurants on the parcel, south of Gezon Parkway. If it wins rezoning, Sonic still needs a special-use permit for a drive-up window.
"There's good-looking drive-throughs and there's probably not so good-looking drive-throughs," Councilman Jack Poll said. "As long as we can make sure it's a good-looking facility, then I don't have a problem with drive-throughs."
Founded in Shawnee, Okla., in 1953, Sonic offers burgers and chili dogs served to customers' vehicles by carhops on roller skates. It is the country's largest chain of drive-in restaurants, with more than 3,200 locations in the United States and Mexico.
Joyce Lunsford, president and chief operating officer of Trigo Hospitality in St. Joseph, did not return calls about her plans for Sonic. Earlier this year, she announced plans to build one Sonic in Kent, Calhoun, Jackson and Kalamazoo counties this year, with at least eight more locations to follow.
Trigo operates 31 Pizza Hut locations and 18 Panera Bread stores.
The Planning Commission opposed the rezoning request last month, saying it would set a negative precedent in an area that should not have the fast-food feel of 28th Street or Division Avenue.
But Mayor Carol Sheets said a drive-in Sonic would be a great fit for Wyoming. She said it would be silly to reject the Sonic drive-through in an area where drive-through banks are allowed.
"When you count the number of drive-through or drive-up operations in that area, there are already a number," Sheets said. "I don't think we have any reason to not allow the Sonic.
"There's already a drive-through at Steak 'n Shake, which is right next door. There's all these drive-throughs, and they (commission members) turned (Sonic) down. That doesn't make sense."
The Zoning Board of Appeals granted Steak 'n Shake permission for a drive-through window in 2001.
Earlier this year, developers of a proposed KFC restaurant filed suit against the city after the ZBA refused to allow a drive-through window near Metro Health Village.
City attorney Jack Sluiter said the Sonic rezoning should not affect that lawsuit.
"Given the fact that it's a mile away, that impact is lessened considerably," he said."