Maui Business

Sonic Drive-In restaurant chain plans first Maui location in Kahului

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Sonic’s new location off Hoʻokele Street in Kahului is advertised Monday. PC: Kehaulani Cerizo

Sonic Drive-In, one of the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chains, is planning to roll out a Kahului location. 

The new Hoʻokele location is being announced with multiple Sonic banners that say, “Maui First Coming Soon,” near a 1,999-square-foot site advertised by landowner Alexander & Baldwin as a future building space.

Known for its use of carhops on roller skates, Sonic features hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, slushes, milkshakes, soft drinks, combos and desserts. It is the largest drive-in brand in the US with more than 3,600 restaurants, according to its website. 

Ho’okele Shopping Center, owned by A&B and located at 1090 Hoʻokele St., is anchored by a 57,000-square-foot Safeway grocery store and Safeway gas station. The center also contains Sleep Number, along with the future Taco Bell drive-thru restaurant building. 

The trade name “Sonic Drive-In Hawaii” was registered with the state Jan. 7 of this year.

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Sonic Drive-In in 2016 announced a new franchise development agreement for Hawaiʻi, marking the brand’s first offshore expansion and entrance into its 46th US state, according to a press release. 

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Then, new Sonic franchisee group, North Shore Provisions LLC, planned to develop seven Sonic Drive-Ins throughout Hawaiʻi, with the first slated to open on Oʻahu in 2018. 

However, Sonic’s website has yet to list any locations in Hawai’i. A request for comment was not immediately returned by Sonic Corp. 

Founded in 1953, Sonic is based in Oklahoma City. It is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants, which includes Arby’s. Baskin Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jimmy John’s Sandwiches and Rusty Taco. 

A menu is shown for Sonic Drive-In, a fast-food chain located in more than 40 US states. PC: Sonic Corp.
Kehaulani Cerizo
Kehaulani Cerizo was born and raised on Maui and worked for nearly 15 years as a news reporter, copy editor and features editor at daily newspapers. She earned awards at The Maui News in Wailuku and at Today’s Local News in San Diego.
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