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Sonic Drive-In eyeing City Center Plaza

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The fast-food restaurant chain that bills itself as America’s drive-in could be coming to Watertown.

Developer Patrick M. Donegan confirmed Tuesday that Sonic Drive-In, the Oklahoma-based chain with more than 3,500 restaurants in 44 states, is eyeing an outer pad at his City Center Plaza on Arsenal Street, near Interstate 81.

Mr. Donegan said he may have more information about the potential tenant in a month or two.

“We think Watertown would be an ideal location for Sonic. We believe there is demand for Sonic in the area and hope to have news to share about plans to expand in the future,” said Patrick Lenow, vice president of media relations for Sonic Drive-In.

Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator, said he received a telephone call Monday from an unidentified engineering firm wanting information about the site.

Mr. Mix said the firm wanted to know what kinds of businesses were allowed on the site and whether a zoning change would be needed.

Mr. Donegan also has interest from other “smaller tenants” for City Center Plaza, he said.

“I have a lot of interest from others,” he said.

Getting a Sonic would be quite a coup, since it would be the first in Central New York and the north country, he said.

Sonic Drive-in has announced plans for expanded growth in upstate New York.

Currently, there are only a handful of the restaurants in the state, including Newburgh and Staten Island. Three weeks ago, the company announced that a franchise agreement was reached with a Buffalo businessman to develop eight Sonic Drive-ins in that area over the next six years. That follows an announcement of a Rochester restaurateur’s plans to build five there over the next four years.

While fast-food aficionados cannot get the chain’s food now, they probably have seen the company’s clever television ads. They feature two guys sitting in the front seat of a car, munching on hot dogs and enjoying milkshakes.

The drive-in would join Buffalo Wild Wings, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ruby Tuesday’s, Starbucks, AT&T, Ponderosa, Holiday Inn Express and Hilton Garden Inn already at City Center Plaza.

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