Sonic Drive-In coming to northern Sebastian, to hire 110-plus

SEBASTIAN — A new restaurant has set its sights on the City of Sebastian and has plans to hire more than 100 residents once opened.

Sonic America’s Drive-In is slated to move in north of the St. Sebastian Catholic Church, south of Shady Rest Mobile Home Park on US 1. The franchise owner, Michael Kinzley, closed on the property’s purchase last week and plans to have the restaurant open and ready for hungry customers sometime next summer.

Diners can pull into any number of drive-in slots, order from their car window and a skating car hop will deliver the food, which is part of what sets the fast food restaurant apart from others in the area.

Kinzley, who owns the Vero Beach Sonic Drive-In, said that the Sebastian location is expected to be very similar to that of the southern eatery. The Vero Beach drive-in is considered the “flagship” store.

Provided that the Sebastian site is developed much as the Vero Beach one, General Manager James Morgan said they would anticipate hiring 110-plus locals to man the restaurant.

The Vero Beach restaurant, which opened in August, currently employs 116 people, all but two with Vero Beach addresses, according to Kinzley.

“We’re doing our best to spur the job growth and the economy,” he said.

Hiring is expected to start within 60 days of the location’s opening. Information can be found on the newly launched Sonic Web site, www.SonicofVeroBeach.com.

The Sebastian restaurant represents a more than $2.5 million investment from Kinzley, including the price of the property and anticipated construction costs.

Kinzley said he chose Sebastian for his second of five projected restaurant sites due to the city’s residential base and growing retail corridor along US 1.

“The city has a great growth strategy,” Kinzley said.

Being situated near the Super Wal-mart, Home Depot, and the Sebastian River Medical Center, Kinzley added that the “traffic count is very healthy.”

Kinzley said he would be remiss if he did not express his thanks to the City of Sebastian’s Growth Management Department, in particularly Growth Management Director Rebecca Grohall.

“She’s been fantastic,” he said of Grohall, adding that the entire staff seemed “very excited” about the project.

Kinzley hopes to begin lot development in early 2011 and have the restaurant in operation by the summer.

“We don’t want to be too aggressive,” Kinzley said in specifying the timeline.

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