Town planners in Corte Madera, Calif., recently gave the business the all-clear to open its drive-thru on Paradise Drive along Highway 101. The founders envision a 140-seat venue offering both indoor and outdoor dining, as well as bicycle parking.
The town previously banned conventional drive-thrus which focused on meat and dairy products. In fact, Amy’s is set to replace a “dilapidated” vacant Denny’s.
Finding healthy yet convenient food can be a struggle for town locals. Amy’s is making organic, meat-free options more accessible. Illeana Brown of Mill Valley said at the public hearing, “It’s the only restaurant where I can actually eat at without having to worry about getting sick.” Brown added she travels out to Sonoma County just to dine on the food at Amy’s.
“It’s really hard to find good vegetarian food around here, especially going out,” teenager Katie Shell told the commissioners. “[A]nd that’s because lots of places don’t have any vegetarian entrees on the menu.”
Amy’s launched in the 1980s, selling packaged frozen meat-free goods including pizzas, burgers, burritos, and mac and cheese, becoming one of the best-selling natural food brands in the country. The brand opened its first drive-thru location, in Rohnert Park, Calif., in 2016. “We started and we’ve been surprised by how successful and well-received it is,” said Amy’s co-founder Andy Berliner at the hearing.
Co-founder Rachel Berliner added, “We’ve gotten a lot of letters and emails from all over the country asking us to put a drive-thru in their town.”
Amy’s hopes to open six more locations across the U.S. in the coming year.
A consultant speaking before the five-member panel said that Amy’s food also offers a lowered environmental impact. “What we found is that an Amy’s meal has half the greenhouse gas emissions of a traditional restaurant meal,” they said.
The restaurant will feature solar energy, a “living vegetative roof,” reclaimed wood, and entirely compostable food packaging. The Rohnert Park location also features a water-tower that collects rainwater.
Image Credit: Amy’s Drive Thru