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Sonic Drive-In

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 21

    Here's the signature drink from the chain that revived the old-school drive-up burger joint. In 1953 Troy Smith obtained the parcel of land in Shawnee, Oklahoma that was big enough to fit the new steakhouse and root beer stand he had always dreamed about. Troy thought he'd make the steakhouse his primary operation, but as it turned out folks preferred the hot dogs and cold drinks over at the root beer stand. Troy did the smart thing and ditched the steakhouse to focus all his efforts on the other restaurant. At first he called the root beer stand "Top Hat," but when Troy found out later that name was already being used, he came up with "Sonic" to signify "service at the speed of sound." Today the chain is the sixth largest hamburger outlet in the country. 

    This recipe makes a simple, old-fashioned drink by combining Sprite with cherry juice and some lime wedges. Use cherry juice made by Libby under the brand-name Juicy Juice for the best home hack.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    These awesome shakes are unique—the graham cracker crumbs in the mix make them taste like a creamy chilled pie, crust and all. Delicious. You can either crumble up your own graham crackers or use the already ground stuff in a box that's often used to make graham cracker pie crusts. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Driving through Louisiana in 1953, Troy Smith happened upon a cozy hamburger stand that had installed an intercom system to speed up ordering. Troy adapted the idea for his small chain of burger joints and hired nimble servers to bring the food out to customers quickly. The concept was a smash, with revenues for the chain doubling during the first week. Sonic was cashing in on the growing popularity of the automobile. Customers parked their cars in a stall, rolled down the window, and ordered from a speaker. The food was then brought to the car on a tray by a roller-skating carhop with extraordinary balance.

    Today, Sonic has rejuvenated the carhop concept by serving customers the same way as in the '50s: with individual car stalls, speakers, and waitresses on wheels. The company is America's largest drive-in hamburger chain with more than two thousand units rolling in 1999.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories per serving–400 (Original–314)
    Fat per serving–10.5g (Original–15.7g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    One day in 1958, when Top Hat restaurants were operating in several Oklahoma cities, lawyers informed founder Troy Smith that Top Hatwas already a copyrighted name and that he would have to make some hasty changes. The chain's partners searched for a name that summed up the company motto: "Service at the Speed of Sound." They agreed that the name Sonic had a nice ring to it.

    Sonic is now the country's fifth-largest hamburger chain and boasts some amazing statistics. For example, if you were to take all of the hamburger patties Sonic served last year and stack them up, they would be as tall as 2,576 Empire State Buildings stacked one on top of the other. 

    If you like your burgers with a spicy kick and dig mustard, try this reduced-fat clone for one of Sonic's tastiest creations.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories per serving–400 (Original–380)
    Fat per serving–10.5g (Original–16g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

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    The Sonic story starts back in 1953, when Troy Smith traded in his failing fried chicken stand in Shawnee, Oklahoma, for a parcel of land that had a steakhouse and a root beer stand on it. Troy thought he'd make the steakhouse his primary operation, but as it turned out, patrons preferred the hot dogs and cold drinks at the root beer stand. Troy dumped the steakhouse and focused on offering additional items at the stand such as hamburgers. Those hamburgers became the big seller at this revised restaurant, which Troy had dubbed the Top Hat. But that name would soon change when the Top Hat sign was replaced by one that read Sonic Drive-In.

    This is a lower-fat clone of that first hamburger, which has been on the menu since the beginning. We'll substitute lean ground beef and fat-free mayonnaise to shear off more than sixteen grams of fat.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories–400 (Original–409)
    Fat–10.5g (Original–26.6g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 8

    Any Sonic Drive-In regular knows the three or four unique fountain drink favorites on the menu: there's the Limeade, the Diet Limeade, and, of course, the Cherry Limeade. But that bright blue stuff called Ocean Water has become a recent favorite for anyone who likes the taste of coconut—it's like pina colada soda. The server squirts a bit of blue coconut syrup into some cold Sprite. The big secret to duplicating this at home is re-creating that syrup. After that's done, make the drink as they do at the restaurant in less time than it takes to say, "Does my blue tongue clash with what I'm wearing?"

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.46. Votes: 24

    These easy-to-make milkshake clones from Sonic's fountain are no longer available at the 3,342-unit drive-in burger chain, but we'll always have a clone. The straight peanut butter version is crazy delicious if you're into peanut butter. And when you add a little fudge to the recipe for the second hack here, you've got what tastes like a creamy Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Good stuff, man.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    The cool thing about this Top Secret Recipe is that many of the ingredients come in a kit designed for making strawberry cheesecake. Find Jell-O No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Mix near the puddings in your supermarket and you have half of the ingredients locked up. Inside the box are three separate packets: strawberries in syrup, the cheesecake mix powder, and graham cracker crumbs. You'll also need vanilla ice cream, a cup of milk, and some canned whipped cream. Toss the first four ingredients below in a blender until smooth, fill 2 glasses, and then top off the shakes with whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs from the kit. Everyone will freak out when they suck strawberry cheesecake through a straw. The recipe below makes 2 regular size shakes, but you can make another 2 shakes using up the remaining strawberries from the cheesecake kit. If you get some additional strawberries in syrup, you can make as many as 8 more shake clones with the remaining cheesecake mix powder and graham cracker crumbs.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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