HOMESTEAD (CBSMiami.com) – With as many places as South Florida offers to buy fast food, you have to wonder why people are waiting in line for two hours or more for burgers, corn dogs and drinks at a new Homestead restaurant.
But that’s what’s happening at the first Sonic Beach restaurant to open in South Florida, forcing employees to manage long drive-thru lines and staff to stay open late just to meet the demand.
The new restaurant in Campbell Drive at 2425 NE 8th Street is the first Sonic location south of Palm Beach County. Saturday’s official grand opening will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Three earlier restaurants that opened in the early 90’s were damaged by Hurricane Andrew and the chain abandoned South Florida until the new location had a quiet opening in early June.
Since then, with just a Facebook page and word of mouth, the restaurant has been mobbed, with the line of cars twisting through the parking area of the shopping center that hosts the store.
Saturday, the location will have it’s grand opening, the first of what Miami-based franchisee Arthur Halleran Jr. said could eventually be 50 locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Halleran’s Queensfort Capital, the company operating the franchise, said it “has the focus to develop 8 Sonic restaurants a year.”
Spokesperson Seth Gordon said locations in Ft.Lauderdale Beach and Miami Gardens are already under development.
Saturday’s grand opening will be attended by a host of Homestead officials, because the new restaurant means more than burgers and fries. Homestead was one of the earlier Sonic restaurants, and the opening is one more thing taken by Hurricane Andrew that has now been restored.
The new Sonic Beach has helped has also restored some jobs in South Dade, with more than 140 people hired to open the new restaurant.
The Homestead location offers much of the traditional Sonic menu, but differs somewhat from other Sonic locations. It adds some items developed with South Florida tastes in mind. It still offers carhops, but fewer than other locations, and lets people order from a drive through or a walkup window. In addition, the Homestead location offers a covered patio with TVs and a small sandy beach area,
Saturday’s grand opening will feature a plea from Halleran and CBS4’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors to come to the aid of Farm Share, a South Dade non-profit organization that distributes surplus farm produce, and has been hard-hit by elimination of state funding.