Let’s face it: We live in a fast-paced world in which a good meal doesn’t always come quickly or conveniently. Thankfully, “fast-casual” restaurants have become the new darling of the dining scene, giving busy diners a fresh alternative to your typical fast-food offerings.
So whether you’re looking for a handmade gourmet pizza, hearty comfort food with a local twist, or a healthy salad on the go, these Phoenix restaurants are putting a new spin on the drive-thru experience. Here's some of the best local drive-thrus in Phoenix.
Housed in a restored 1950s First Federal Bank building designed by modernist architect Al Beadle, Federal Pizza gives a whole new meaning to “carry-out” pizza. That’s because the building’s former bank drive-thru lane now serves as a pick-up window, giving you full access to the restaurant’s tempting menu without ever leaving your car. Choose from a generous starter or salad, then indulge in a hearty sandwich or pasta dish. The real star of the show, however, is Federal’s pizza, featuring unique twists on cheese, sausage and pepperoni, as well as specialty pizzas that push the pizza envelope.
5210 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Residents of north Phoenix know a thing or two about the art of the quick bite — especially with 32 Shea in the neighborhood. The former-Fotomat-turned-restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in-house, on the patio, or through a convenient drive-thru window—perfect for locals looking for delicious comfort food on the go. An added bonus is that the restaurant supports local makers and purveyors by partnering with Arizona-based companies, including Matador Coffee, Souvia Tea and Arizona Bread Company.
10626 N. 32nd St, Phoenix
Luci’s at The Orchard
While dining at Luci’s at The Orchard is a treat in and of itself, it’s nice to know you can still enjoy the restaurant’s delicious offerings on the go. Thanks to a convenient drive-thru window, call-in orders can easily be picked up and enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Serving all-day breakfast, as well as lunch, coffee, juices and smoothies, Luci’s is the go-to for fresh American cuisine, including such signature dishes as corned beef Benedict, Funky Monkey French toast, sweet fig and tuna salad wrap, and the Hot Juan black bean burger.
7100 N. 12th St., Phoenix
Sip Coffee & Beer Garage
Located in the heart of Arcadia, in a former oil and lube shop, Sip Coffee & Beer Garage is dedicated to fueling up busy, on-the-move patrons in need of a fresh cup of coffee to start — or end — their day. Open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the drive-thru serves a variety of coffees and teas, from hot or iced, drip to pour over, Cappuccino to Americano (the restaurant is open for dining in until 10 p.m. or later). Coffee beans come from Cartel Coffee Lab, ensuring your coffee isn’t only of the highest quality, but also locally roasted.
3620 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
Salad and Go
Putting a healthy spin on the typical drive-thru experience is Salad and Go, a salad eatery with all the trappings of a fast-food spot sans the calories. With multiple locations across the metro area, the restaurant is a busy salad lover’s dream come true. Enjoy traditional salads such as the Cobb, Caesar, Greek or mixed greens; or signature salads including the roasted sweet potato and strawberry (salads can also be served as a wrap). And while salad for breakfast isn’t unheard of, the restaurant does offer breakfast bowls, such as the traditional burrito, warm berry quinoa, and spinach breakfast.
Copper Star Coffee
Located in the heart of the Melrose District, Copper Star Coffee is not only a neighborhood favorite for espresso, teas, smoothies, breakfast, brunch, fresh-baked pastries, sandwiches, salads, and more — but also a "Best of Phoenix" and Readers Choice award winner. Locally owned and operated, this cafe originally opened as a gas station in 1933 (the pumps are still onsite), which makes for a convenient car-hop drive-thru experience from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
4220 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix