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Courtesy of Amy's Drive Thru
Courtesy of Amy's Drive Thru

America's First Veggie-Focused Fast Food Drive-Thru Plans Nationwide Expansion

Courtesy of Amy's Drive Thru
Courtesy of Amy's Drive Thru

While dining at drive-thru joints, vegetarians are often forced to stick with meat-free menu choices like fries, fro-yo, and side salads. (As for vegan and gluten-free patrons, their meal options are likely even more limited.) But thanks in part to Amy's Drive Thru—a California-based restaurant that bills itself as the nation's first organic, gluten-optional, and veggie-focused fast food eatery—customers across both the Golden State and the greater U.S. may soon get to indulge their cravings guilt-free, according to Geek.com.

Amy's Drive Thru—which sells everything from organic burgers to vegan mac 'n' cheese and gluten-free cinnamon rolls— may soon open a second location in Marin County, California, in addition to its flagship location in Sonoma County, California. Eventually, the restaurant hopes to expand nationwide, providing the veggie-loving masses with fast food made from local ingredients and farm-fresh produce.

If both the concept and the name of Amy's Drive Thru sounds familiar, that's because it's an offshoot of Amy's Kitchen, the frozen and canned food brand stocked at Whole Foods and other grocery stores. After years of enticing shoppers with foods like organic frozen pizzas and gluten-free burritos, the business opened their first stand-alone eatery in Rohnert Park, California, in 2015.

The Amy's Drive Thru in Marin County isn't a done deal quite yet: For one thing, local planning officials still need to address the project in a preliminary hearing planned for September 12, 2017. (According to Eater, existing local zoning rules already prohibit drive-thru restaurants, but Amy's is hoping for some wiggle room.) "We are very early in the design process for Amy's Drive Thru on Paradise Drive, and look forward to sharing additional information as quickly as we can," company officials tell Mental Floss.

That said, expect to hear more about the restaurant in the future as it grows in both scope and scale, with multiple potential locations in the works for Northern California, Fast Company reports.

Keep in mind that terms like "vegetarian" and "gluten-free" don't technically mean fewer calories: Amy's signature double-decker veggie burger, "The Amy," reportedly has more calories than a McDonald's Big Mac, according to a review by Paste. While the fast food franchise may be a great option for customers who choose not to eat meat, or have conditions like celiac disease or lactose intolerance, you still might want to check how Amy's Drive Thru stacks up, health-wise, against other fast food giants before chowing down with abandon.

[h/t Geek.com]

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StudioCanal
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entertainment
The World’s First Totoro-Themed Restaurant Is Coming to Thailand
StudioCanal
StudioCanal

Japan’s upcoming Studio Ghibli theme park will not open for another few years, but animation fans in Asia will soon have another destination where they can get their Hayao Miyazaki fix. Thailand will soon be home to a Totoro-themed restaurant, SoraNews24 reports.

May’s Garden House Restaurant in Bangkok is the first officially licensed restaurant inspired by Miyazaki’s classic film My Neighbor Totoro. The restaurant features Miyazaki-themed decor, like a giant Totoro figure that sits in the dining room, as well as menu items inspired by the characters, such as steamed buns shaped like Mini Totoros. The tables are adorned with figurines of Totoro, Mei, Sootballs, the Catbus, and other characters from the movie. While they aren't completed yet, the restaurant plans on adding a children’s playground, an orchid greenhouse, and various other elements before the grand opening.

Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki helped develop the concept for the restaurant, and he personally designed its sign. He also designed two exclusive new Studio Ghibli characters for the restaurant, Colko and Peeko (who you can see above).

While it has been open on a trial basis since mid-April, May’s Garden House is set to officially open at the end of May. Until then, Miyazaki uber-fans will have to content themselves with dining at the Straw Hat Cafe, the more general Studio Ghibli-themed restaurant at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

[h/t SoraNews24]

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Philippe Huguen, AFP/Getty Images
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environment
McDonald's May Be Getting Rid of Its Plastic Straws
Philippe Huguen, AFP/Getty Images
Philippe Huguen, AFP/Getty Images

First Seattle and then the Queen. Could the Golden Arches be next to join the anti-straw movement? As Fortune reports, McDonald's shareholders will vote at their annual meeting on May 24 on a proposal to phase out drinking straws at the company's 37,000-plus locations in the U.S.

If passed, the fast food behemoth would join the ranks of other governments and businesses around the world that have enacted bans against straws in an effort to reduce plastic waste. Straws are notoriously hard to recycle and typically take hundreds of years to decompose.

McDonald's is currently in the process of removing plastic straws from its roughly 1300 outlets in the UK. However, McDonald's board of directors opposes the move in the U.S., arguing that it would divert money from the company's other eco-friendly initiatives, The Orange County Register reports. This echoes comments from the plastic industry, which says efforts should instead be focused on improving recycling technologies.

"Bans are overly simplistic and may give consumers a false sense of accomplishment without addressing the problem of litter," Scott DeFife of the Plastics Industry Association told the Daily News in New York City, where the city council is mulling a similar citywide ban.

If the city votes in favor of a ban, they'd be following in the footsteps of Seattle, Miami Beach, and Malibu, California, to name a few. In February, Queen Elizabeth II was inspired to ban straws at royal palaces after working with David Attenborough on a conservation film. Prime Minister Theresa May followed suit, announcing in April that the UK would ban plastic straws, cotton swabs, and other single-use plastic items.

It's unclear how many straws are used in the U.S. By one widely reported estimate, Americans use 500 million disposable straws per day—or 1.6 straws per person—but it has been noted that these statistics are based on a survey conducted by an elementary school student. However, plastic straws are the fifth most common type of trash left on beaches, according to data reported by Fortune.

[h/t Fortune]

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