Royal Oak's closed Sonic restaurant could be replaced with a Chipotle


  • Shutterstock

The shuttered Sonic drive-in restaurant near 11 Mile Road and Washington Avenue in Royal Oak could soon be transformed into a Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The Sonic closed more than four months ago at the outset of the coronavirus crisis, after more than a decade there. Developer Alrig USA got approval to build a Chipotle in the space last week from the city Planning Commission, as well as a conditional rezoning of the Sonic site from central business district to neighborhood business.

The development would expand the buidling by 600 feet, and include an outdoor patio. The extra space will speed orders up, the company says.

“With our indoor seating we like to target a 30-minute or less turnaround,” design manager Julie Koratich told the Royal Oak Tribune.

It would be the second Chipotle store in the city; the other is located on Woodward Avenue near 14 Mile Road. Another Chipotle could be heading to Detroit's east side.

After bombarding us with commercials for years, the first Sonic restaurants opened in metro Detroit more than a decade ago. The chain has other metro Detroit locations in Troy, Livonia, Southgate, Westland, Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Lincoln Park, Dearborn, and Commerce.

So many restaurants, so little time. Sign up for our weekly food newsletter delivered every Friday morning for the latest Detroit dining news.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.