The Meat-Free Fast Food Joint With Big Plans

September 11, 2017

North of San Francisco, in Rohnert Park, California, you’ll find Amy’s Drive-Thru—the nation’s first vegetarian, organic, gluten-free-optional fast-food restaurant. With two years of success under its proverbial belt, the restaurant is announcing plans to expand and hopes to establish five brick and mortar restaurants across Northern California.

Amy’s, the prepared food brand that introduced vegan and vegetarian options to the freezer aisle, is no stranger to shifting the way we eat. Since 1987, the family-owned company brought a mindful twist to a market otherwise saturated with options that lacked nutritional value. Their colorful boxes of organic enchiladas, soups, pot pies, and much more adorn supermarket shelves across the country.

And with the opening of a fast food joint, Amy’s brought their homegrown and healthy ethos to a new field. The Petaluma-based company has eventual plans to expand their restaurants nationwide.

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Their take on fast food is novel. They prioritize veggie burgers and gluten-free buns and have three separate kitchens to respect dietary restrictions and avoid cross-contamination. Their salads are seasonal, and their mac 'n cheese caters to the lactose-averse. And while they boast products that put quality at the top of its list, they maintain prices that situate them snugly in the fast food market. Their burgers retail for $3.99 (the same price as a McDonald’s Big Mac).

With an expansion in mind, the company plans to maintain the values that have guided their practice since its inception. They cite sustainability and quality as their guiding tenets—the drive-thru is solar powered and all utensils are recyclable—and adhere to local and sustainable produce as much as possible.

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Top Comment:
“Need Amy's in DC. Seriously, the GF/V crowd would crowd in but so would the large religious/ethnic population in the area. (And the diplomats too!)”
— Dork D.

Amy’s expansion makes sense, as consumers continue to lose trust with the traditional fast food behemoths, turning to fast casual outposts that place emphasis on cleaner eating and dietary variety. Perhaps, your next road trip could see you eating a healthy, affordable veggie burger: Wouldn't that be nice?

What would you like from Amy's? Tell us your order below!

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The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Dork D. September 13, 2017
Need Amy's in DC. Seriously, the GF/V crowd would crowd in but so would the large religious/ethnic population in the area. (And the diplomats too!)
AntoniaJames September 11, 2017
And then for carnivores, there is "The Organic Coup" at AT&T Park, the Giants' home in San Francisco:

"This fried chicken joint is the first USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant in the country, and there are two brick-and-mortar outposts in San Francisco . . . . the first 100-percent certified organic vendor at AT&T Park." ;o)
Gina M. September 11, 2017
looks delish! I wish we had a restaurant in Palm Springs.
We're Meatless in Our Home. Gorillas are Vegetarians
Saffron3 September 11, 2017
Gorillas are Vegetarians should be a bumper sticker