UPDATE: The restaurant is now slated for a late July 2015 opening.

Amy's Burger prepared for the forthcoming Amy's Drive Thru from Amy's Kitchen

Amy’s Burger prepared for the forthcoming Amy’s Drive Thru from Amy’s Kitchen

How long does it take to develop a veggie burger that could go toe-to-toe with In-N-Out? Roughly two years. Or, at least that’s how long the R&D team at Amy’s Kitchen has been working on the double-stack burger for their forthcoming fast-food eatery.

Amy’s Drive Thru is slated for a May-ish late June opening in Rohnert Park. It will be a fast-food concept restaurant developed by healthy frozen-food pioneer Amy’s Kitchen. BiteClub got a sneak preview of what’s going on the menu — and hold onto your greasy little steering wheel, ‘cause your meals-on-the-go are about to get a whole lot better.

Amy's Drive Thru will open in Rohnert Park late spring 2015.

Amy’s Drive Thru will open in Rohnert Park late spring 2015.

Piled with sweet pickles, lettuce, brilliant red tomato slices, cheese, “special sauce” and a soft bun, the “Amy’s Burger” is a beefy mouth-stretcher (without the beef, of course) that can satisfy the most devout carnivore. And that’s a good thing, considering that In-N-Out and McDonald’s will be within spitting distance of their Redwood Drive location.

But getting that fast-food experience with the meat-free philosophy of Amy’s Kitchen hasn’t been, well, a picnic.

We’ve grilled enough burgers (in the R&D lab) to run the restaurant for a month and a half. Multiple times,” said head food developer Fred Scarpulla. Trial and error can be delicious, but not necessarily easy. Not to mention that everything on the menu comes in vegan and gluten-free versions. So that’s another whole set of recipe testing.

Amy's Drive Thru will open in Rohnert Park late spring 2015.

Amy’s Drive Thru will open in Rohnert Park late spring 2015.

But as of late February, 2015 the opening menu will include not just the burgers, but meatless chili cheese fries, milkshakes, mac and cheese, personal pizzas, burritos, salads and natural sodas made with GMO-free, organic ingredients, many of which are sourced locally. More than rehashed versions of their frozen meals, these are dishes that have been entirely created for a fast-food experience.

“We make it all, and we make it from scratch, said Scarpulla. That also  includes the potatoes, which are specially grown for the company. “We’ve tasted every kind of potato to find the perfect potato,” said co-owner Rachel Berliner, who with husband Andy were at the tasting.

“I’m super excited to pull up and just get this food to go,” said Rachel. “I’m that person.”

amys5
If all goes well, much of Sonoma County will be those people, too. How many times have you asked yourself why someone can’t come up with a healthier version of fast food? Amy’s may have just cracked the code.

Expect to pay under $10 for a double cheeseburger, fries and a shake, and less than $5 for a burrito.

More details as the opening gets closer.