Sonic Drive-In is coming to Fairbanks.
Franchisee owner Larry Clark of Wasilla and Fairbanks real estate agent David Pruhs confirmed the arrival of the fast-food burger chain, slated to open in June. Pruhs, who acted as Clark's real estate agent, made the announcement Monday morning on his Facebook page in a post that has been shared more than 900 times as of Monday evening.
"Welcome Sonic Burger," Pruhs wrote in the post. "They executed a 10 year lease to occupy the old Carl's Jr. building on Merhar Avenue. The new store opens June 1, 2020. It was a very enjoyable negotiation and process. Very good people getting it accomplished."
Sonic is a drive-in burger chain with corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is owned by Inspire Brands, which also owns Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy John's and Rusty Taco. Sonic is known for its burgers, foot-long hot dogs, slushies and limeades, and ice cream desserts. There are 3,585 Sonic Drive-Ins in the United States, according to sonicdrivein.com.
Clark opened a Sonic in Wasilla on Aug. 20, 2019, — the first one in Alaska — and said the plan was to always expand to Fairbanks. The building at 420 Merhar Ave. will undergo extensive renovations, Clark said, and won't look anything like it does now.
"We're making some modifications and will have a drive-up canopy. We are going for something different," Clark said. "We will have carhops that will bring the order right to you. We are hoping to have just as big if not bigger turnout than in Wasilla."
In Wasilla, eager Sonic fans camped out next door to the establishment the night before to be the first in line, and cars started lining up at 3:15 a.m. the morning it opened, according to a report from television station KTVA.
And Sonic might not be the only chain coming to Fairbanks. Clark confirmed he and his business partners also leased the Carl's Jr. building at 1391 University Ave. South. Clark said the second lease would not become a Sonic but did not say which chain he had his eye on.
"We are leasing them both but looking at a different business for the other one," Clark said. "There are still a lot of things in the works for that, but we are looking at some other options."
On Monday afternoon, Clark was in Fairbanks wrapping up business transactions, such as finalizing city licenses and switching over utilities to his name.
"We are excited to bring the Sonic brand to Fairbanks," he said.
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or at twitter.com/FDNMfeatures.