As the new Sonic Drive-In restaurant begins to take shape across the parking lot from the off Route 35 in , folks are starting to buzz about its anticipated opening. Even the mayor mentioned the fast-food restaurant in his last week as a positive bellwether for new businesses coming to town.
According to franchise owner Anthony Cirillo of Freehold, the eatery, which will feature stalls to drive up to and place meal orders that are delivered to your car by carhops, is scheduled to open Feb. 13.
Applications to fill the 80 jobs at the new Sonic are currently being accepted, said Cirillo. Prospective employees can stop by the new location Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"They're starting to pop up all over," he said of the food chain with 3,500 locations in 43 states that is based in Oklahoma City, OK and "more popular than McDonald's" in some parts of the country.
Cirillo said the design for this more northern location was tweaked recently to include an indoor patio to accommodate diners during New Jersey's more frigid and snowy months.
The drive-in consists of two canopied sections with a total of 21 stalls for carhop service as well as a drive-though window for meal orders. There are eight outdoor dining tables that can accommodate 32 diners and the 1,527 square-foot building will provide indoor seating as well.
The Tinton Falls site will join the sole operational Sonic in Monmouth County right now located at Route 9 and New Friendship Road in Howell Township. Another Sonic has been approved a few miles up Route 35 in Middletown at Harmony Road, which got the green light at the township's December zoning board meeting.
"It's a food chain but a restaurant," said Cirillo of how Sonic prepares all food to order. "There aren't any holding bins."