We Tried The New Sonic Chophouse Cheeseburger. Here's How It Went

So often in life, you have to make a choice between cost and quality. Do you shell out for front row seats and enjoy the concert in style or sit up in the balcony knowing the music will still sound fine, and for half the price? Do you go to Whole Foods or a local gourmet grocery market and get a freshly chopped kale salad for $11 or do you get a bagged salad from the supermarket down the street for three bucks? Do you buy that souped-up sports car, bank account be damned, or get a mid-sized hybrid SUV and save on the sticker price and at the pump? It's tricky stuff, and there never seems to be a "right" decision. Except when there is.

When it comes to cheeseburgers, you can briefly avoid being forced to decide between low cost and big flavor, and that's thanks to the new Chophouse Cheeseburger from Sonic Drive-In. The newest menu item at Sonic is in keeping with the chain's tendency to offer big, tasty burgers and in the company's habit of often adding a so-called "X-factor" to their eats. In some cases, the X-factor may be pickles, be they added to a burger or a ... um... a Slush. (Yes, Sonic currently offers a Pickle Juice Slush. No, we did not try it. Nor will we.) Sometimes, it's chunks of churro added to a shake. (Yes, we did try the Churro Shake, and it was excellent.) What's the special ingredient with Sonic's Chophouse Cheeseburger? We'll get to that right away, don't worry!

What's on the new Sonic Chophouse Cheeseburger?

If a basic cheeseburger is just a ground beef patty, a slice of cheese, and a burger (which it is, by the way, this is not a trick question or rhetorical point), then it's pretty amazing what the Sonic Chophouse Cheeseburger does merely by adding two more ingredients. Ordered without customization, the Chophouse Cheeseburger comes with a brioche bun, a burger patty, two slices of American cheese (okay, so that's kind of like adding three ingredients, if doubling the cheese counts for that), and a "Chophouse Aioli" sauce and fried onion strings.

Wondering about the X-factor ingredient? It's that last one. The flavor of the onion strings permeated every bite of this burger just the way onions topping your steak will at a steakhouse. (Which is AKA a chophouse... hey, connection!) 

You can, of course, customize the burger however you want, but via the Sonic app, the ingredients listed as at the ready for customization are ketchup, mustard, and mayo for sauces, and for toppings, you'll see bacon, diced onions, jalapeño slices, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes. We went with lettuce and tomatoes, because of course, and jalapeños, because we can't resist a bit of spice. You can dress up your Chophouse Cheeseburger all sorts of other ways, too, such as with BBQ sauce (a maybe for next time in our book), with ranch dressing (why not?), honey mustard, or any of the other sauces Sonic offers in packets, too.

How much does the Chophouse Cheeseburger cost?

Remember how we talked about the balance (or choice between) price and quality earlier? We brought all that up because this burger is quite tasty yet not very pricey, also known as a good value for your money. According to a press release sent out on behalf of Sonic Drive-In via Business Wire, the Chophouse Cheeseburger will be priced at just $4.99 at many Sonic locations around the nation, not including tax. Now, it should be noted that at the Sonic location we visited, which is just a bit east of New York City, for reference, the burger cost a bit more than that. 

Its base price for us was $6.19, plus 53 cents in tax, for a grand total of $6.72 when ordered without any added ingredients, but that's frankly still a good price for this large, satisfying burger. It can get pricier if you start adding lots of ingredients, though. For instance, the lettuce we added cost nothing, but the tomatoes were 20 cents and the jalapeños added 70 cents more. Our total came to $7.70 (actually, it was $8 because we always round up to tip a bit) but it was totally worth that price. 

Now, had we added bacon, which is 80 cents more, and tipped well into the eight dollar range, maybe the cost would have started to seem a bit high. Long story short, if your location offers the $4.99 price, you're winning!

How long will the Chophouse Cheeseburger be on the menu?

Sonic's new Chophouse Cheeseburger is a limited-time menu item, so don't wait too long if you want to get a bite of one. It became available to order exclusively through the app as of August 22, and the burger will be widely available for order any way you like (even when you drive right up to the restaurant and order via radio, then have it delivered by a roller skate- or rollerblade-wearing server — and yes, they really do still do that at Sonic!) as of August 29. Per that same press release, the Chophouse Cheeseburger will be available through October 30.

Note that the press release also has that all-too-common and unnerving caveat that it will only be around until 10/30/22 or "while supplies last," so the Chophouse Cheeseburger may well disappear from your local Sonic before that date. On the other hand, offering foods on a limited-time basis is a great way to test them out, so also don't be too surprised if this burger ends up being a staple menu item if it sells well. (At the $4.99 price, it certainly will! At "our" $6.19, it's still a good bet it will move in volume.) 

How does the Chophouse Cheeseburger compare with other Sonic Drive-In menu items?

Comparing the Sonic Chophouse Cheeseburger to other items on the Sonic menu is rather an apples-to-apples situation. At present, there are seven burgers on the Sonic "National Burgers" menu and all of them are some variation on a cheeseburger, so it's not like this is some wild departure into new territory for the storied fast-food chain. So what really matters are the little details. Like in the case of the Big Dill Cheesfeburger, what sets the foodstuff apart is the pickle fries and the pickle slices. What makes the SuperSONIC Bacon Double Cheeseburger special is the fact that it's a behemoth of a burger sporting lots of bacon, among other ingredients.

As noted, what makes the Chophouse Cheeseburger unique (and quite good) are those onion strings, but ultimately the burger fits in well with the larger lineup of eats from Sonic rather than standing out as something boldly new. And that's not at all a critique meant in the pejorative — we'd rather something that fits in with the lineup than something that's distinctly new yet seems out of place, like if, for example, Sonic started offering pizza or soup. Or a Pickle Slush, but it's too late for our input to stop that madness, unfortunately.

What's the nutrition info for the Chophouse Cheeseburger?

If you go to the beach hoping to stay dry, you may well end up disappointed. If you go to a desert hoping for a swim, same story. And if you eat a Sonic Chophouse Cheeseburger hoping for a health food, well ... maybe you should have gone with that chopped kale salad we talked about earlier. 

The basic Chophouse Cheeseburger ordered as-is, meaning a brioche bun, a burger patty, two slices of American cheese, the aioli sauce, and the onion strings packs in 980 calories, or nearly half of the calories you should eat in an entire day. The lettuce, tomatoes, and jalapeños we added increased the calorie count to 1,015 calories, which is a mere 15 more calories total, but entered it into that 1,000 calorie-plus range which was a bit disconcerting.

Specific nutrition information beyond the calorie count isn't readily available for the Chophouse Cheeseburger, so we're instead using the closest comparison for which we have full data for these next numbers, mind you, and because the burger referenced has fewer ingredients than the Chophouse Cheeseburger, you can rest assured (or perturbed) that its stats are a bit grimmer than these. Using the Sonic Cheeseburger (with ketchup and mayo) as our comp, you can safely assume the new burger has at least 400 of its calories from fat (likely more), at least 12 grams of saturated fat (same story), and probably well in excess of 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

Verdict: Did we like the new Chophouse Cheeseburger?

All in all, yes, we liked the new Chophouse Cheeseburger from Sonic quite well. It was filling even without an order of fast food fries, yet it left us satiated, not stuffed and wallowing in physical misery. Frankly speaking, the burger we got was not a looker — it was not all that well assembled, which is usually not the case with Sonic, a chain that seems to pride itself on food that's prepared with a bit of extra care. But that didn't change the flavor here, which was quite satisfying.

As noted by now, those onion strings are the major player here, flavor wise. They lend a subtle but pleasing taste to every bite, balancing out the rich creaminess of the aioli sauce and complementing the sweetness of the bun — there's a reason so many recipes, especially soup bases, call for onions, and it's precisely this balance that they bring. The burger patty was thick and well-cooked, and did indeed have something of the commanding presence of a burger you would get at a steakhouse type of restaurant. We were happy with out customization of the lettuce, tomato, and jalapeño, the former two being cheeseburger staples, while the peppers added a lovely crunch and just a bit of heat that, like those onions, worked in concert with the rest of the ingredients. 

This is a burger we'd order every time we were on the fence about what to order. In other words, if you can't decide between a Big Dill Cheeseburger, a Quarter Pound Double, or the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, just order the Chophouse Cheeseburger instead and you'll be fine.