Fast Food Review: Tater Tots from Sonic

Given my incredibly open mind for trying off-the-wall food items, it may come as a shock to you that I was once the most selective of eaters. I was so selective (one might even call it ‘picky) that for my entire elementary, middle and high school education I not once purchased lunch from school. Even when I ended up forgetting my brown bag and was issued one of those county mandated “billed” lunches, I straight up refused to put anything from a hair-netted woman into my mouth, in the processes risking malnutrition and extreme hypoglycemia during recess four-square.

I was a “never ever”

Yup. I was that kid.

The quintessential “bringer,” I was so closed minded I didn’t even engage in trading. To me, cafeteria food was just a fear I couldn’t conquer, and even as I got older and the choices increased, it wasn’t until my freshmen year of college that I stopped relying on my mommy to pack my lunch.  And why not? Mom knew what I liked, and besides, those mushy chicken fingers and that square “pizza” thing on the beige, 1970 hospital trays of Rockburn Elementary just looked, well inedible (the food that is, obviously the trays were inedible.)

The only thing better than a random tot is a random tot in my mouth

And while I feel myself ultimately saved from a future of poor taste and potential health problems from my decision to forgo the lunch line, I do regret one thing: that I never had the pleasure of eating a real live, honest-to-God tater tot.

Until now.

Thanks to my first ever trip to Sonic, my worldview has not only been shocked, but 12 years of culinary isolation have been called into question. Yes, I am here to tell you that Sonics tater tots are just that good, and are in fact the best tater tots I have ever eaten.

Pop some of these crispy little potato pieces in your mouth and you’ll never think of a spud the same way again. Top them with chili and cheese, or get them plain. They’re SONIC® good no matter how you eat them.

Never mind that they were the first and only tater tots I’ve ever eaten. Forget the stunning devolution of my sophisticated palette. Just know that thanks to my friend “Q” at Brand Eating and a recent Sonic giveaway, a changed man stands before you today.

As one of the world’s leading experts on potato chips and French fries, it really amazes me that I didn’t realize I would like tater tots sooner in life. I mean, it’s potato + fat + salt dipped in ketchup. What the heck is there not to like? Yet unlike French fries, which very widely in consistently and can be found everywhere, there’s something incredibly unique and hypnotizing about the perfect tot. It’s that culinary “X” factor born from nostalgia and simplicity, taking us back to a time when life was simpler and the hour you got between a hard days of napping and addition problems was to be savored.

Yet I never got to savor those days, but thanks to Sonic, I am now. The medium container is well filled with warm, crispy potato pieces with tiny ridges and bumps on the exterior. I liked how they were remarkably clean on the outside – crispy and not oily, with the nooks and crannies you don’t get with fries. The insides were moist but not mushy, and did a great job of soaking up ketchup.

How did those little buggers get in there?

My goodness these little buggers were delicious. Even the fact that my order took forever to come out by the annoying drive through hop or the fact that a few stray fries ended up in my box couldn’t ruin this ethereal tasting experience for me. Words fail me, to the point where description becomes impossible. So I can simply say that these are the best tots ever – that is, until I try others to compare.

And considering no other nationwide fast food restaurant makes tater tots (at least to my knowledge, but let me know if I’m off here) I think it’s safe to say that my conception of the golden brown standard of tater goodness is safe for at least the immediate future.

(As a side note, a medium order of these things is listed at  ridiculously low 200 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Considering I’m now willing to replace all my carbohydrates with Sonics tater tots, this seems completely within the acceptable limits of nutritional mindfulness.)

Pros: Nostalgia for memories never realized. Warm, crispy loveliness. Somewhere between "ethereal" and "OMG YES AWESOME"

Cons: Hypoglycemia at recess. 22 years of missing out.

Taste: 9.50/10
Value: 8.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 9.00/10
Price: 1.59 for medium order

Overall GrubGrade: 9.50/10

More Info: www.Sonic.com
Nutrition Facts:
Onion Rings (Medium Size)
Calories – 203
Fat – 12.9 grams
Saturated Fat – 2.4 grams
Cholesterol – 1 milligram
Sodium – 440 milligrams
Carbs – 20 grams
Sugars – 2 grams
Protein – 2 grams

23 comments on “Fast Food Review: Tater Tots from Sonic

  1. maxchain says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. Nobody’s going to confuse those mushy, salty
    cylinders they serve(d) in school cafeterias with actual tater
    tots–you didn’t miss anything. Heck, I was convinced I hated tater
    tots as a whole until I tried them at Sonic. You should get ’em
    with cheese sometime!

  2. skippymom says:

    You know I never realized it – but you are so right – tater
    tots do not vary in consistency as french fries can. We love tater
    tots and have them when we make sandwiches and burgers. Try the
    ore-ida brand and just bake them in the oven – they are awesome! 🙂
    [that is when you can’t get to Sonic. Love Sonic!]

  3. tracylee says:

    The posted Nutrition Info is for Onion Rings?

  4. Anne Marie says:

    I normally don’t order things with cheese, but cheese tater
    tots at Sonic are awesome. Try them 🙂

  5. Scott says:

    Adam, please expound; I don’t think you were clear in your
    message. Did you like them or not?

  6. jay says:

    Fact: everything fried at sonic tastes like french toast
    and is disgusting

  7. Atleye says:

    Adam: I look at the extra fries as I do with extra fries in a fast food onion ring order…extra awesomeness. How can a little extra fried food be bad?

  8. IBeAnonymous says:

    1. Try dipping in ranch.
    2. Try with cheese. But not the sonic cheese, its pretty flavorless.

    Honestly though, Sonic’s tot’s aren’t even the best tots around! Nonetheless, they are pretty good!

  9. GrubGradeFan says:

    I was def. a “never ever” kid in elementary school, but once I got into middle school the lunches drasitcally changed.

    In my school district we were offered Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and a local mexican chain, Miguels Jr. (http://miguelsjr.com), as our daily menu. Of course there was still a line that had all the typical, nasty items.

    My question is, did anybody else have these choices or is this extremely rare?

    PS. We didnt have full menus

    Taco Bell: Hard Tacos, Soft Tacos, Bean Burritos, Chillitos, and the Cinnamon Twists.

    Pizza Hut: Pepp. and Chesse Pizza by the slice

    Miguels: Bean&Cheese Burritos and BR&C Burritos
    *Check the website. Homemade Mexican fast-food that will blow your mind. Very few locations in a condensed area.

    • Adam says:

      Dude, that is maybe standard at a college, but a middle school? LOL No way. Reminds me of that scene in Richie Rich.

      “YOU HAVE YOUR OWN MCDONALDS!”

      • GrubGradeFan says:

        hahaha. This was at a public school too. Im not gonna
        downplay the fact that I did live in a nice area, but this def.
        wasnt some fancy private or prep school. I had this menu from
        7th-12th grade. Guess I should feel blessed.

  10. Jessica says:

    Arby’s has potato cakes which taste like tater tots. Jack
    In the Box has hashbrown sticks that get pretty close. BK has
    crispy crowns as their breakfast potato offering. They are not very
    tasty. But I LOVE me some Arby’s Tater Cakes!!!

  11. mattitude says:

    I have to disagree with all,since I have lived in the south most of my life,Sonic and it’s food are just tasty and the tots especially with chili and cheese – are a heart stopping delicious thing!

  12. Q says:

    Haha, I don’t know if I would go so far as to put them in the GrubGrade Hall of Fame but you’re welcome! ;D

  13. popeyes fried biscuit says:

    Taco Time has the best tater tots(mexi nuggets) of all times, ALL TIMES*Kanye voice*

  14. Tony jaguar says:

    GrubGradeFan that explains lots about the IE.

  15. Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

    Make sure to put Taco John’s Potato Ole’s on your list to try!

    http://tacojohns.com/food4-SideOrders1-Potato_Oles.asp

  16. jesika says:

    tater tots are indeed awesome, especially when the outside
    is really crispy and salty. sonic’s cheese tots are frigging
    awesome as well, and served with ranch. taco john’s potato oles are
    pretty much tots with seasoning salt, and AS ADDICTING AS CRACK.
    perfect plain, or with sour cream, taco sauce or guac. most of the
    best tots ive had are from local joints here in minnesota. i think
    mayslacks in st paul has the best ones ive ever had. oh man, the
    crispy outside, the fluffy potatoy interior, always consistant… i
    definately prefer tots to fries!

  17. Steve says:

    They are soooo good because they do not have onion in them unlike most to those famous brands found in food stores. The onion over powers the taters makeing the onion tot inferior in taste to the Sonic tater tots. Wish I could find some in the store without onion.

  18. Robert says:

    they taste like oil gross