The Unusual Drive-Thru That's A 10-Course Popup Experience

When you think of a drive-thru, you likely have an image of a grease-speckled paper bag filled with burgers, fries, or other traditional fast food fare. While it's quick and convenient to be able to grab a meal on the go, this isn't exactly the domain of fine cuisine — at least not in the average American's experience. 

This is a nation that knows its fast food drive-thrus. After all, this efficient dining option was born on American soil. While the title for "first drive-thru" is hotly debated, History recalls that way back in 1948, a purveyor of hamburgers set up shop beside a round patch of pavement in Baldwin Park, California. With its design completely devoted to enabling motorists to purchase take-away meals from the comfort of their cars, the original In-N-Out Burger didn't have a single seat for dining in. 

While most fast food joints now offer both dine-in and drive-away options, the drive-thru continues to prove a valuable sales asset. In fact, QSR reveals that between 60% and 70% of all purchases from fast food restaurants are made via the drive-thru. This service model naturally lends itself to a speedy, casual dining experience, but can it be used when offering epicurean delights from an upscale eatery? One New York event proves that it can. 

Good evening, your chauffeured golf cart will take you to 10 pop-up eateries

How can upscale eateries offer a quality drive-thru experience? In the case of the recent Resy Drive-Thru event, they must begin by transforming the entire notion of what a "drive-thru" means. Resy's blog explains that for two days in September, the team of Amex Gold and Resy invited eager diners to swap their cars for a chauffeured golf cart and visit a pop-up dining event at Brooklyn's Skyline Drive-In. Diners simply had to sit back as they were driven from one pop-up restaurant to another, dining on a signature dish from each place.  

The idea was born in Los Angeles during the pandemic as the Resy Drive-Thru enabled diners to check out local eateries without braving indoor crowds. And, according to Travel + Leisure, the LA event completely sold out in a mere 15 minutes. Following another successful event in Miami, the partners decided to take it to New York City. With offerings from 10 different restaurants, this multi-course feast showcased an eclectic collection of dishes like grilled squid, butter chicken, roasted cauliflower, and marbled cheesecake. Tickets were sold for $110 per diner.  

While only Amex Gold and Resy know what future drive-thrus lurk up their sleeves (if any), keep your eyes peeled. You never know: Your city might set the stage for the next 10-course drive-thru event.