Photo by Derek Wilson/Marinscope
Amy’s Drive-Thru celebrated the grand opening of its new Corte Madera site on Tuesday, Aug. 11, marking the completion of a project that had been delayed for months by the state lockdown. The restaurant, on Paradise Drive, replaces the Denny’s which had been a local icon for decades. Amy Berliner, for whom the restaurant is named, cut the ribbon during the ceremony. She was flanked by her father, Andy, and grandmother Eleanor. Corte Madera Mayor Eli Beckman (second from left) said he hopes the opening will spur new business growth in town.
Photo by Derek Wilson/Marinscope
Amy’s the restaurant, above.
By Derek Wilson
As Amy Berliner enjoyed an orange-vanilla shake on the patio of Corte Madera’s newest restaurant, she looked around and said “This is wonderful.” She wasn’t talking about just the drink, but the entire restaurant that shares her name.
The characteristic garden roof of Amy’s Drive-Thru can be seen from Highway 101 as the North Bay business officially opened its second drive-thru restaurant on Tuesday, Aug. 11, complete with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Customers began rolling to the drive-thru windows a week earlier.
Amy’s Drive-Thru President Dave Wolfgram described the restaurant as a “new take on classic American food,” with vegetarian, organic and non-GMO offerings. Amy’s fans might already be familiar with the soups, burritos and Mac & cheese found at grocery stores. The drive-thru menu also features veggie burgers, French fries, salads, cinnamon rolls and more.
The restaurant, located at 5839 Paradise Drive, is currently open every day, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., for lunch and dinner. It does not yet offer breakfast.
Last week’s opening comes after an extended delay due to the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amy’s, located on the site Denny’s restaurant called home for decades, is the first drive-thru in town since Corte Madera officials loosened restrictions on drive-thru restaurants.
Amy’s cofounder Andy Berliner recalled driving past the old Denny’s restaurant, “and when I heard the space was available, I jumped at it,” he said.
“Growing up, there was nothing like this for us. Now young people will have the chance to come somewhere, and they’ll have memories and, hopefully, we’ll give them really good food,” Berliner said.
“I just want to say that we are really excited to have Amy’s here finally,” Corte Madera Mayor Eli Beckman said before the ribbon-cutting. “I can’t imagine a more timely time to open a drive-thru here. I think people are glad to have food options. Amy’s offers organic and sustainable food and I think that really aligns perfectly with Corte Madera’s values, so we are thrilled to have (Amy’s) here.”
The 4,125-square foot restaurant features a drive thru lane, patio seating for 98, 12 bike racks and 47 parking spaces. There is indoor seating for 68 diners, that will be available after the state ban on indoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.
Beckman said he hopes the arrival of Amy’s will spur new developments and job growth in town.
“We’re always hopeful that new additions to the business community are just going to increase the overall vibrance of our business community,” Beckman said.
Amy’s roots are firmly planted in the North Bay as a true family business. The company’s legacy all starts with Amy. The inspiration for the company came while Rachel Berliner was pregnant with Amy in 1987. The business, named for Amy Berliner when she was a baby, started with the Berliners making pot pies in their own kitchen before expanding in 1988. Amy’s now has kitchens in California, Oregon and Idaho.
Amy’s Kitchen’s products began appearing in grocery store freezer sections across North America and now the company sells more than 250 products in 30 countries.
The first Amy’s Drive-Thru opened in Rohnert Park in 2015, with an eye-catching water tower on site and a garden roof that attracted considerable traffic from Highway 101 and nearby neighborhoods and businesses. Amy’s also has a walk-up stand at San Francisco International Airport and there are plans to open more businesses in the Bay Area in coming years.