Southern California’s massive network of freeways and wide boulevards made the perfect backdrop for its drive-thru culture to prosper, especially after In-N-Out Burger introduced the two-way speaker box in 1948. Even today, LA’s drive-thru restaurants continue to thrive in communities all over greater LA with one iconic stop showcasing a La Puente building with a drive-thru connected by two giant chocolate donuts. Here are 16 of SoCal’s best places to order from a drive-thru.Read More
16 Breezy Drive-Thru Restaurants Around Los Angeles
There’s nothing more LA than ordering food from a drive-thru window and eating it from the comfort of a car
This Granada Hills drive-thru staple opened its first location in 1972 and has staying power thanks to its quality burgers, patty melts, soft serves, and shakes. But the massive majestic pastrami cheeseburger is best savored with a dining partner.
For decades, Inglewood’s Randy’s Donuts has maintained a walk-up plus a drive-thru. Thanks to Randy’s popularity and availability (this location is open 24 hours), both include long wait times that are worth it. Go for the classic glazed, buttermilk, or cereal-sprinkled variety.
Old Time Drive-In
Open since 1985, Old Time Drive-In is a legendary old-school drive-thru in Sun Valley. The menu is as classic as it comes, with familiar all-day options with pancakes, pastrami, burgers, plus an incredible patty melt.
Lucy's Drive In
Lucy’s is a Mid-City neighborhood spot, the kind of classic do-it-all restaurant that runs around the clock with quality burgers, fish and chips, and fries. There are also Mexican combination platters, tostadas, tacos, and what may be the most underrated breakfast burrito in Los Angeles.
South Bay’s unsung drive-thru Steve’s (not to be confused with the also solid Steve’s Charburger), makes some of Torrance’s finest diner fare like burgers, turkey club sandwiches, and cheesy breakfast burritos with crisp bacon. The drive-thru is pretty ancient and the food isn’t as fast as one would think, but that just means the food will be hot, fresh, and really tasty right out of the bag. Ask for a little extra salsa for the breakfast burritos, chunky and just tangy enough to add a spicy kick.
It’s easy to dismiss celebrity-driven restaurants let alone one that skews plant-based. But in early 2023, actor Kevin Hart opened his flagship location of Hart House in Hollywood with a drive-thru. It’s here where staff prepare house-made plant-based chicken sandwiches, nuggets, and burgers, along with a fairly impressive oat milk chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or Oreo shake.
Shin-Sen-Gumi Ramen is far more than just a to-go. Ramen is the star but don’t sleep on the meatball or chicken yakitori, salads with udon noodles, and crispy kaarage available at this Gardena drive-thru.
That’s correct, Piara Pizza’s South LA location actually serves pizza in a drive-thru capacity. It seems like the perfect addition to SoCal’s drive-thru culture where standard pies with deep dish are available, along with wings and garlic cheese bread.
Operating for decades out of Westlake, Gus’s menu is massive with classic breakfast, truly great fried chicken, burgers, fajitas, and a ribeye steak pita. There’s also a delightfully sweet and rare find in Southern California: custard.
Rick's Drive In & Out
Rick’s straddles Echo Park, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and the busy Fletcher exit off the 5 Freeway. The decades-old drive-thru has an old-school blue speaker box and makes it very easy to order burgers, club sandwiches, chili fries, chile relleno, and the occasional house special: spaghetti.
Patra's Charbroiled Burgers
Glassell Park’s timeless Patra’s continues to stand tall in Los Angeles while serving burgers, salads, sandwiches, and more.
Hungry Horse Drive-In
As far as greasy spoons go, Hungry Horse is one of Long Beach’s favorites. Pull up to the drive-thru and order charbroiled burgers, sandwiches, traditional breakfast, and teriyaki bowls or platters. The potato salad is a must.
The Original Tops
Though there’s plenty on the menu at Pasadena's classic drive-thru, Top’s is all about the pastrami. This classic Route 66 stand has been in business since 1952.
Boba Ave 8090
Boba Ave 8090 is a far better choice than queuing up at a random Starbucks drive-thru. The menu includes boba varieties including jasmine, brown sugar, and purple sweet potato, along with popcorn-fried chicken.
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The Donut Hole
What could possibly be better than driving through a giant replica of a doughnut while picking up a box of actual doughnuts? To do just that, simply head for the Donut Hole in La Puente. If any children are in the car, it’s guaranteed they will lose their minds.
Legendary plant-based chef Matthew Kenney transformed a former Del Taco into a completely vegan fast-food restaurant in 2021 and kept the drive-thru intact. Veg’d serves plant-based American fare with burgers, fries, smoothies, and more, like a kung pao bowl with cauliflower with tofu and zucchini. Morning bites include the breakfast sandwich with Just Egg, jack “cheese,” green chiles, avocado, Tater Tots, and green chile salsa.
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