In the Valley, convenient drive-thru windows are no longer the sole province of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. Here are three local restaurants to check out from the air-conditioned comfort of your car.
1. Pomelo/Luci’s: Ken and Lucia Schnitzer innovatively installed a drive-thru coffee lane when they upcycled a 1950s-era citrus nursery in North-Central Phoenix. This summer, they added wood-fired pizzas to the drive-thru menu – crispy-chewy, Bianco-style pies that qualify as the best of their kind north of Bethany Home Road. The hitch: The Luci’s dining compound is so shady and pleasant, you’ll be tempted to park and eat the pizza right there. 7100 N. 12th St., Phoenix, 602-633-2600, pomelophx.com
2. The Stand: Arcadia’s plucky drive-thru burger-taco-stand went taco-less last year, around the same time its larger Old Town sibling opened. So: no tacos, no beer and an awkwardly choreographed service window that, frankly, makes it more enticing to park and walk the 10 or so steps inside. The banana shake is still aces, though. 3538 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-314-5259, thestandbnt.com
3. Federal Pizza: Part of the Postino-Windsor-Joyride family of restaurants, the Central Avenue pizzeria installed a modest drive-up lane when it launched in 2012. Factoring in the chaotic parking sitch at the restaurant enclave, the lane is a useful option, but what really sells it: to-go growler refills. So Arizona. 5210 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-795-2520, federalpizza.com