Sonic Drive-In

215 N Main St, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74075 USA

28 Reviews
Open Now
Fri 6a-12a
  • Chain
  • Credit Cards
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
  • Outdoor
Add to Trip
Remove Ads

Learn more about this business on Yelp.

“The first Sonic location”

Following World War II, Troy N. Smith Sr., Sonic's founder, returned to his hometown of Seminole, Oklahoma, where he became employed as a milkman. He decided to work delivering bread because bread was not as heavy as milk. Soon afterwards, Smith purchased the Cottage Cafe, a little diner in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Before long he sold it and opened a fast food restaurant, Troy's Pan Full of Chicken, on the edge of town. In 1953, Smith went in with a business partner to purchase a five-acre parcel of land that had a log house and a walk-up root beer stand, already named the Top Hat. The two men continued with the operation of the root beer stand and converted the log house into a steak restaurant. After realizing that the stand was averaging $700 a week in the sale of root beer, hamburgers and hot dogs, Smith decided to focus on the more-profitable root beer stand. He also bought out his business partner. Originally, Top Hat customers would park their automobiles anywhere on the gravel parking lot and walk up to place their orders. However, on a trip to Louisiana, Smith saw a drive-in that used speakers for ordering. He suspected that he could increase his sales by controlling the parking and having the customers order from speakers at their cars, with carhops delivering the food to the cars. Smith borrowed several automobiles from a friend who owned a used-car lot to establish a layout for controlled parking. He also had some so-called "jukebox boys" come in and wire an intercom system in the parking lot. Sales immediately tripled. Charles Woodrow Pappe, an entrepreneur, chanced upon the Shawnee drive-in and was very impressed. He and Smith negotiated the first franchise location in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956, based on nothing more than a handshake. By 1958, two more drive-ins were built, in Enid and Stillwater. Sonic Drive-In neon sign at the Oklahoma History Center. Upon learning that the Top Hat name was already trademarked, Smith and Pappe changed the name to Sonic in 1959. The new name worked with their existing slogan, "Service with the Speed of Sound". After the name change, the first Sonic sign was installed at the Stillwater Top-Hat Drive-In; the original sign still can be seen there. Although Smith and Pappe were being asked to help open new franchise locations, there was no real royalty plan in place. The pair decided to have their paper company charge an extra penny for each Sonic-label hamburger bag it sold. The proceeds would then be split between Smith and Pappe. The first franchise contracts under this plan were drawn up, but there was still no joint marketing plan, standardized menu, or detailed operating requirements

Read More >
Photo of Amiee B.

Reviewed by
Amiee B.

Absolute favorite drink is strawberry limeade, sonic has the best prices and such great food and service Read more

Photo of Jaricca J.

Reviewed by
Jaricca J.

got a chili cheese dog they didn't add cheese/ asked for a blur raspberry slushy they gave me a raspberry slush Read more

Photo of Taylor R.

Reviewed by
Taylor R.

Since they rebuilt, I have had nothing but good experiences here!! One that really stands out happened tonight, with Dennis, who works overnights. The store was out of cake for the birthday cake... Read more

Sonic Drive-In

215 N Main St
Stillwater, Oklahoma
74075 USA


Open now until 12:00 am
  • Sat: 7:00 am - 12:00 am
  • Mon - Fri: 6:00 am - 12:00 am
  • Sun: 8:00 am - 12:00 am

Problem with this listing? Let us know.

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Does not take
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Drive Through
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor Seating
See More Details (22)

Parking, Dining

Remove Ads

Nearby Hotels

Stillwater, Oklahoma

Click to discover a
great deal!

Perry, Oklahoma

Click to discover a
great deal!

Stillwater, Oklahoma

Related Trip Guides

  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on an I-40 road trip

  • 35 Places
  • 49:44
  • 2,851 mi
  • Trip Guide
  • 1 Week

The top things to do on a Route 66 road trip

  • 41 Places
  • 38:08
  • 2,284 mi
Remove Ads