The Sonic Drive-In across from Mansfield High School is about to lose its lock on the hungry-student market, at least directly across East Broad Street.
The City Council on Monday approved site plans for a new Chicken Express restaurant next door to the Sonic at 3120 E. Broad St.
Sonic has been the only fast-food restaurant across from the high school since it was built in 2002.
And a step ahead of Chicken Express is a proposed Dairy Queen, which already has its permit to build next door to the Chicken Express lot, two doors west of Sonic.
“We’re certainly seeing a lot of activity in that area, which you would expect with the Kroger and new home development over in that part of town,” said Scott Welmaker, the city’s economic development director. “I’m surprised that Sonic has been the only one over there so far.”
Just a few blocks east, in the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center, 3300 E. Broad St., Whataburger, Taco Casa, Chick-Fil-A and Mooyah Burgers also draw high school students.
City planner Felix Wong said no official of either chain has said when construction would start or when the restaurants would open.
Sonic’s only neighbor since 2005 has been Fire Station No. 3, 3100 E. Broad St.