At 13-years-old, David Castleberry began working as a carhop at the world first Sonic, which was located in Stillwater at 215 N. Main St.
By age 21, he had become part owner of his first restaurant and now at 68, is part of a management company that owns and operates 32 Sonic’s in Texas and Oklahoma, including the location where he worked as a youth.
A new Sonic restaurant is being built in the original location and should be open for business by next Wednesday, Castleberry said.
Being that this was the site of the original Sonic, Castleberry said the design had to be one of a kind.
“It is special to me because this is where I started,” he said.
The oversized outdoor covered patio, which has seating for 31, has an outdoor fire feature, the original 1959 Sonic Drive In sign and three large televisions where sporting events can be watched.
The Sonic also has a 24 hour drive-thru and, if people want to get out of their vehicle and sit at the patio, a pass-thru window that is also 24 hours.
Last year, Castleberry partnered with Gene Longworth - who was the store manager back in 1961 and hired Castleberry – to run the three Stillwater Sonic’s.
A statue of Longworth is also featured at the restaurant.
Top Hat started in 1958 and became the world’s first Sonic a year later.
Co-owner and brother Roger Castleberry, 42, of Amarillo, Texas, said it will be pretty special to have a unique Sonic is his hometown of Stillwater.
By November, Castleberry hopes to have mobile payment available to the customers.
But technology isn’t completely taking over.
“We will still have rollerskating carhops,” he said. “Some things never change.”