Yesterday, on our southward journey back from a stay at the very lovely Stanford Inn, we got a chance to check out Amy’s Drive Thru, the all vegetarian, very vegan-friendly take on American fast food by Amy’s Kitchen.
Though now ubiquitous with its convenient, vegetarian, organic meals, Amy’s started out small, with husband and wife Andy + Rachel Berliner starting the company in 1987 and running it from their home and barn (they named it after their then newborn daughter, Amy). After their signature vegetable pot pie shot to grocery store stardom, Andy + Rachel expanded their line to include soups, beans, chili, sauces, and millions upon millions of frozen burritos, with an eye toward combining heathy living with convenience.
Last year, Amy’s opened Amy’s Drive Thru in Rohnert Park, California, just north of San Francisco, and we’ve been meaning to stop by ever since. The concept—convenient, health-minded, vegetarian and vegan food that’s competitive with the non-veg fast food market—is an easy extension of Amy’s Kitchen’s core concept and, we have to say, from our experience, it’s a huge success.
First off, prices are great—single-serving pizzas for $6+; sides of mac for $4+; burritos for $5; vegan and dairy shakes for $4; and the signature double-patty veggie burger, The Amy, with (vegan) cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and spicy or non-spicy special sauce, all for just under $5. And everything’s still made largely on-site using organic ingredients.
And the space itself reaches for new heights in über-eco-ness—tables are made from old automobile brake drums, wood used is either recycled or culled from off-cuts, tableware is recyclable and compostable, and the roof sports both a rainwater capture system and habitat-creating, naturally cooling drought-tolerent garden.
Maybe most importantly of all—the food tastes fucking great. Everything we had hit that perfect taste point of classic fast food that many of us still hold in a nostalgic place in our hearts but wholesome and clearly better for you, while still retaining the crave-worthiness—we seriously started craving The Amy mere hours after leaving the Drive Thru.
Between Amy’s, San Francisco’s already formidable vegan food scene, and The Stanford Inn’s all vegan offerings not too far north, we’re already planning our next trip up the coast.