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.
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.