Saturday, 18 November 2017
Vegetarian

We tried the country’s first 100% vegetarian drive-thru to see if it’s better than the Chick-fil-A across the street …


chick-fil-a versus amy's drive thruWe put sandwiches from Chick-fil-A and Amy’s Drive Thru to the test.Melia Robinson/Business Insider

There’s no rule that says fast food has to make you feel terrible.

In recent years, American consumers have shown a craving for healthier fast food. Restaurant chains that offer low-calorie meals — that remain convenient and affordable — have sprouted across the US, forcing legacy brands like Taco Bell and McDonald’s to rethink their menus.

The fast-food revolution is no more apparent than in Rohnert Park, California, where a Chick-fil-A sits across the street from up-and-coming vegetarian fast-food chain Amy’s Drive Thru. On a visit to both restaurants, we found Amy’s buzzing with diners long after the lunch hour.

We tried sandwiches from both Amy’s and Chick-fil-A. Here’s what we liked better.

On a recent visit to California’s wine country, I stopped in Rohnert Park for a bite to eat.

On a recent visit to California's wine country, I stopped in Rohnert Park for a bite to eat.

Google Maps screenshot

There was no shortage of options. A highway exit off Redwood Drive offers access to Arby’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Amy’s Drive Thru, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, and El Pollo Loco.

I decided to eat at Chick-fil-A before visiting Amy’s. They’re located across the street from each other, and they both make sandwiches the star of the menu.

I decided to eat at Chick-fil-A before visiting Amy's. They're located across the street from each other, and they both make sandwiches the star of the menu.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Plus, Chick-fil-A generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US — a testament to the fried-chicken chain’s loyal fan base — according to QSR magazine.

You might recognize the name Amy’s from the frozen aisle at the grocery store. The company got its start in 1987 making organic and non-GMO ready-to-eat meals.

You might recognize the name Amy's from the frozen aisle at the grocery store. The company got its start in 1987 making organic and non-GMO ready-to-eat meals.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Today, Amy’s frozen staples, including Cheese Enchilada, Broccoli Pot Pie, and Vegetable Lasagna, are a permanent fixture on the shelves of Whole Foods and other grocery stores.

“Over the years we felt we’ve been part of changing frozen food,” Amy’s Operations Director Paul Schiefer told Business Insider’s Kim Renfro in 2016. “And we had customers and partners saying, ‘Hey, I wonder if you can do the same for fast food.”

The company opened its flagship fast-food restaurant in Ronhert Park in 2015 and has six more Northern California locations in the works, Business Insider reported in September.

The packaging was also compostable. Amy’s is all about sustainability and local sourcing.

The packaging was also compostable. Amy's is all about sustainability and local sourcing.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

This is Amy’s take on the classic burger, and it blew me away. While the bean burger erred on the side of dry, it got a boost in flavor from the loads of fresh produce that filled the burger.

This is Amy's take on the classic burger, and it blew me away. While the bean burger erred on the side of dry, it got a boost in flavor from the loads of fresh produce that filled the burger.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Look at this burger. It’s huge! And at $4.99, it’s no more expensive than other fast-food fare. I would gladly trade it for my usual order at a burger chain like McDonald’s or Burger King.

While there was one major miss among the hits I tried at Amy’s, the meal overall was delightful. And that’s coming from an ardent meat-lover.

While there was one major miss among the hits I tried at Amy's, the meal overall was delightful. And that's coming from an ardent meat-lover.

Melia Robinson/Business Insider

I wouldn’t ordinarily stop into a vegetarian restaurant, but Amy’s offerings — which range from burritos to salads to burgers — didn’t leave me missing meat. The meal swapped in vegetarian, organic ingredients into comfort foods that I love, making it as ethical as it was delicious.



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