If you’ve ever been to Sonic or any other restaurant that offers the unique nugget ice that Sonic offers, you’ve probably wondered at one point or another, “What kind of ice machine does Sonic use?” The gem-sized frozen and chewy treats can be eaten on their own and also work well for chilling your drinks. They have a light, fluffy and refreshing taste. This ice has even found Facebook pages dedicated to its existence. These one-of-a-kind frozen treats come from none other than (cue the drumroll) Scotsman Nugget Ice Machine!
In 1981, Scotsman Industries created their first nugget machine, and for the next 30 years this ice has seen its popularity explode, especially when Sonic began offering it in their signature drinks. When people discovered that ice in their glasses was just as nice as their own drinks, its popularity soared even more. Other companies quickly noticed the rise in popularity and began to develop their own nugget production machines. Ice-O-Matic offered ‘Pearls’. Hoshizaki offered ‘Cubelets’ and Manitowoc stuck with the traditional name ‘Nugget’. However, the Scottish ice machine was and still is the machine of choice for Sonic Drive-In.
If you are looking for the Precise Ice Machine Making Sonic Ice, would be led to one of Scotsman’s commercial ice making bosses. Scotsman offers four of these units: the N0422, the N0622, the N0922, and the N1322. These four machines provide 300 to 1,300 pounds of nugget ice daily. Generally, the size of the store and the demand for ice will determine which machine will be used at which location. The business hours of operation will also influence the purchase of a suitable machine. With these ice making heads, a compatible storage bin is required, which can also be chosen based on the required amount of ice available during peak activity hours.
Many new establishments are choosing nugget production machines in their businesses due to their boom in popularity. You can find nugget ice at Taco Time in the Northwest United States, at Zaxby’s in the South and Southeast, and at Bess Eaton Coffee Shop in the Northeast (the best iced coffee I’ve ever had, personally). While these companies do not have the following that Sonic has, their use of nugget ice has piqued the interest of their customers and also provided new customers. This ice is so popular that, at a Sonic location, when a manager’s aging nugget ice machine finally passed away and he replaced it with an ice machine that produces cubes, he nearly rioted in his hands, to the screams of the customers who were demanding Bring back the chewy ice! (He later replaced the ice cube making machine with two chip ice machines to satisfy his customers.)
For those who want to provide nugget ice in a residential setting and don’t require 300 pounds or more per day, there are quite a few undercounter ice machines that produce the same ice as Sonic. Scotsman once provided the best under-counter nugget ice machine in the industry, a unit called the NU130. However, they recently discontinued this model, much to the chagrin of ice lovers everywhere. Ice-O-Matic, a subdivision of Scotsman Industries, now offers the GEMU090, which is the closest replacement to the Scotsman NU130. The GEMU090 creates about 85 pounds of nugget ice per day. It creates a little less ice per day compared to the NU130, but it costs hundreds of dollars less. It is also identical in size and style. This ice machine has replaced the NU130 in terms of popularity when it comes to finding a high-quality, residential and under-counter nugget ice machine.
For restaurant owners, a nugget ice machine will allow them to explore new beverages and offer creative beverages unique to their establishment. This ice will also increase the popularity of your business. If you’re just someone who loves Sonic ice to the point where you must have an under-counter nugget ice machine in your home, the GEMU090 is a great option. For those who love to chew on these delicious frozen treats, chip ice is definitely on the “must do” list.
Scotsman had no idea how popular nugget ice would become when they created it over 30 years ago, but today they are so glad they didn’t put this idea “on ice.” It is not a coincidence that Scotsman nuggets resemble little frozen gems. Creating this ice was truly like finding a diamond in the rough. To find the perfect Sonic-style Nugget Ice Machine for your home or business, consider consulting the ice experts at Ice Machines Plus.