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Food on the Go: Top Drive-Thru of South Florida

Food on the Go: Top Drive-Thru of South Florida

Posted at Wed, Jul 5, 2023 10:45 AM

The fast-food drive-thru has got to be one of the best inventions of the 20th century. Think about it: piping hot, freshly made food, handed directly to you through your vehicle’s driver’s-side window.

Brilliant, right?

Thank Harry and Esther Snyder, who owned an In-and-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, CA in 1948. According to most accounts, at least one other drive-thru already existed.

But Harry’s the one who spent late nights in his garage developing the two-way speaker box – an early version of the technology still used today – that allowed people to order and receive meals without ever stepping foot out of the car.

Since then – drive-thru explosion! They’re everywhere, and hungry people can get everything from the original burgers and fries to tacos to doughnuts and even a caramel macchiato with caramel in the cup, upside down, with whipped cream, a shot of decaf espresso and cinnamon on the top (no drizzle).

South Florida offers myriad excellent examples of creative calories delivered via drive-thru wonderfulness, including:

NQC

NQC

Cuban comfort food is the foundation for this tiny, quick-service eatery with an unusual name. Most people know NQC stands for no quiero cocinar – Spanish for “I don’t want to cook” (and who among us has not said that in some language or another).

But “not quite Cuban” also fits because the menu includes lighter and non-Cuban options such as shrimp with dill, French lentil soup and buttermilk biscuits as a side order. Café con leche and cortaditos are available, of course, as well as a selection of craft beers.

Drive-thru users are encouraged to use the NQC app, NQC Grub, for efficient service.

Location: 6189 Miami Lakes Drive, Miami Lakes.


Wilke’s 14 Bones BBQ

Wilke’s 14 Bones BBQ

Southern slow-cooked pit barbecue is the draw at Wilke’s, a place that has been slinging pork, ribs and brisket for 30 years, under one name or another.

You got baby backs, burnt ends, wings, Alabama-style barbecue chicken and other carnivore favorites. The menu also includes steak, including filet mignon, sandwiches, burgers, combos, family meals and even – wait for it – kale salad, veggie wraps and fish sandwiches.

Consider ordering online for faster service at the drive-thru.

Location: 1500 U.A. 1, Vero Beach,


Abbott’s Frozen Custard

Abbott’s Frozen Custard

What do you do after a walk in the park or your kid’s soccer game? Go for ice cream, of course! 

Abbott’s aspires to be the “after” destination for all sorts of occasions. 

Perennial favorites vanilla, chocolate and chocolate almond are the signature flavors, and everything takes off from there – the cones, the sundaes, the splits, the floats, the flurries and the novelties like the chip wheels (ice cream sandwiches) and cakes.

Abbott’s roots stretch back to the early years of the last century when Arthur Abbott began selling his secret frozen dessert recipe from a stand on a beach on Lake Ontario. No, they won’t spill the tea on the secret except to say it begins with milk from happy cows.

The chain has changed hands and expanded since then. Most shops are still centered in the northeast, though there are three in Florida, including one at 4140 20th Street, Vero Beach.


Aroma Joe’s

Aroma Joe’s

Like Abbott’s, Aroma Joe’s got its start in the northeast – the first shop opened in East Rochester, NH, in 2000 – and now sports more than 70 java outposts, including three in Florida.

The menu centers on brewed coffee and espresso drinks, flavor infusions, the chain’s signature energy drinks and all-day food offerings that run the gamut from blueberry muffins to apple fritters to savory stuffed pretzels.

AJ’s caffeination comes from beans that are ethically sourced, sustainably grown, Rain Forest Certified and roasted at its facility in Topsham, ME. At the shops, baristas hand pull every espresso shot.

Location: 1450 S. Powerline Road, Pompano Beach


Grown

Grown

Grown’s mission is to combine organic, chef-driven, farm-to-fork cuisine with fast-food convenience and efficiency. Ingredients are local, sustainable and non-GMO. and pretty much everything on the menu can be made vegetarian or vegan on request.

The menu starts off with “ohm-lets” and avocado toast and moves on to salads, wraps and something called the chickpea “holy sh*t, better than tuna” sandwich, which sounds like something to try for the name alone.

The eatery is the brainchild of Shannon and Ray Allen, who know a thing or two about the importance of eating well. She’s the creator/producer of The PreGame Meal TV show and former member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He’s an NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist. 

The first of three locations opened in South Miami at 8211 S. Dixie Highway in 2016. Outlets have since opened in South Beach and at Hard Rock Stadium (no drive-thru there; sorry!).


Dutch Pot

Dutch Pot

This small restaurant chain is a little bit of home for members of the widespread Jamaican community in South Florida. But if you’re not from the islands, you don’t need a passport – just an appreciation for authentic cuisine.

Start the day with akee and salt fish and move on to oxtail, curry goat, escovitch fish or cow foot. Order some plantains or mac and cheese on the side and wash everything down with one of the house-made juices.

Nine locations in South Florida, including 4095 N. Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach.

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