Country music icon Reba McEntire is starting the year off with a bang, kicking things off with a romantic meal at her preferred fast-food establishment.
On February 8, Sonic revealed a collaboration with the legendary singer called "Reba's Sweetheart Meal." This exclusive combo meal, crafted in partnership with McEntire, will be available for Sonic enthusiasts nationwide just in time for Valentine's Day, on February 12.
"I've been a huge fan of Sonic ever since I was in the 10th grade in Kiowa, Oklahoma, where I went to school for 12 years," McEntire shares with TODAY.com. "It reminded me of TV shows we'd watch, 'Ozzie and Harriet' and 'Father Knows Best,' when they go to a drive-in to get a hamburger."
The meal features a Sonic Cheeseburger, Tater Tots — McEntire's well-documented favorite — and Sonic's new Chocolate Covered Strawberry Shake. This delightful shake combines strawberries and chocolate flakes blended into vanilla soft serve, topped with chocolate whipped topping, more chocolate flakes, and a cherry.
Even before this collaboration, McEntire has openly expressed her fondness for Sonic, appearing on talk shows like "Late Night with Seth Meyers" to share her "recipe" for Tater Tots: "You get in your car, and you put it in reverse … drive down the road and you find your nearest Sonic." She even distributed tots to the other coaches on Season 24 of "The Voice."
McEntire's deep affection for the deep-fried side dish has a heartwarming origin.
"I got the name Tater Tot from my boyfriend, Rex Linn … I think it was our first date," McEntire reveals about her sweetheart, whom she's known since 1991 and publicly acknowledged dating in 2020. After dinner, they continued their evening and visited another spot where a waitress offered appetizers.
"I said that I want some Tater Tots, and Rex looked at me and said, 'That is officially now your nickname,'" McEntire recounts, noting that her sister, Susie, gave Linn his own nickname after learning about hers. "She said, 'Well, if he is calling you Tater Tot, he needs to be Sugar Tot.' So now we call ourselves 'The Tots.'"
As for their Valentine's Day plans, McEntire mentions they're keeping with tradition. In 2023, she informed Hoda and Jenna that she and Linn spent the holiday at — you guessed it — Sonic.
"We're going back to Sonic, definitely. We're very blessed here around Nashville, Tennessee to have a few Sonics, several of 'em," she shares. "It's a ritual. Every year, it's an ongoing thing with us: The Tots go to Sonic."
Regarding her plans leading up to Valentine's Day, the Country Music Hall of Famer has a notable gig on February 11: singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
"You know, I've been singing the song for 50 years. This is my 50th anniversary, since I sang it at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. So I've got my outfit picked out. Thanks to Ralph Lauren," McEntire reveals, offering an exciting preview of her performance. "I'm really excited. I'm not that nervous. Because you know, it's not about me."
In addition to singing at the Super Bowl and preparing for Season 25 of "The Voice," McEntire recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of her Atoka, Oklahoma restaurant, Reba's Place.
"We even got written up in the New York Times about our chicken-fried steak," she beams. And she still surprises diners by dropping in at the restaurant from time to time.
"One day I showed up, I just came through the kitchen and walked on stage and started singing. They kept eating," McEntire chuckles. "Then when I started talking or saying 'How y'all doing tonight?' they looked up and they went, 'Oh, my God.'"
A fun fact about McEntire: She has won at least one award every year from 1984 to the present, from Grammys to Academy of Country Music Awards and more. And she may add a few more acting accolades when her new NBC sitcom debuts.
All in all, McEntire expresses feeling "honored, thrilled, humbled, grateful, and thankful" for all the love her work has received over the years.
"I guess (my career) has lasted this long because of my curiosity. 'What more can we do?'" McEntire reflects. "We have been so blessed to get to do not only the music, but writing books and going to Broadway, doing television and movies. … I'm a happy camper. I don't think I've ever been this happy in my life."