(Updated July 31, 2020) | California veggie lovers just got another vegan option. Amy’s Drive Thru, America’s first vegetarian drive-thru, has taken over an old Denny’s restaurant to open its newest location.
Located in Corte Madera, it is the chain’s third restaurant. Amy’s Drive Thru opened its flagship drive-thru location in Rohnert Park in 2015. It opened a modified version at the San Francisco Airport last year.
The restaurant has a wide variety of meatless menu items. These include pizzas, burgers, shakes, and macaroni and cheese.
In an effort to promote sustainability, the new location will feature 42 solar panels. It will also have a green roof filled with plants and EV charging stations. The Rohnert Park location features a water-tower that collects rainwater.
Its grand opening is scheduled for August 4.
Amy’s Takes Over Denny’s
The company had been planning the Corte Madera location for several years.
However, the town previously banned conventional drive-thrus.
In a bid to persuade commissioners to allow Amy’s to set up shop, Illeana Brown of Mill Valley said at a 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.”
A consultant speaking before the five-member panel said that Amy’s food also has 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.
Demand for Amy’s
Amy’s launched in the 1980s, selling packaged frozen meat-free goods including pizzas, burgers, burritos, and mac and cheese. It became one of the best-selling natural food brands in the country.
“We started and we’ve been surprised by how successful and well-received it is,” said Amy’s co-founder Andy Berliner.
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.”
Last year, Amy’s revealed it hopes to open more locations across the US. It had previously planned on opening its third drive-thru location in Walnut Creek. However, the city council’s Planning Commission rejected the proposal earlier this year.