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Sonic Drive-In not going to Eastern Hills Mall

Sonic Drive-In is back at the drawing board in its search for a second Western New York location.

The fast-food franchise had been in talks with Eastern Hills Mall to build at an outparcel on its property, but that deal fell apart after the mall rejected its offer.

“I just don’t think I can meet Sonic’s aggressive timeline,” said Russell Fulton, the mall’s general manager.

Eastern Hills is working with its anchors on the mall’s redevelopment, and the outparcel deal would require multiple layers of approval, architectural renderings and other time-consuming elements.

“It’s not usually a quick turnaround,” Fulton said.

Sonic has already selected its first location, in a former Perkins restaurant at 3601 Union Road in Cheektowaga, which is expected to open by August.

The Cheektowaga location, in the Union Road Plaza, will be the first of eight planned Sonic restaurants in Erie and Niagara counties. With seating for up to 100 people and 20 outdoor, drive-up bays, it will be the largest Sonic in the country, according to Omar M. Abu-Sitta, director of development at Acquest Development Co., which leased the Cheektowaga property.

The local Sonic restaurants will be operated by Kevin DiPirro, who also operates Moe’s Southwest Grill, Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchises in the region.