Let’s talk drive-thrus. Do drive-thrus serve the very best food you’ll ever have? Probably not. But they absolutely have their place. Like a busy Tuesday night, a lake-day lunch, or when you’re simply craving convenience. Whatever the case may be, sometimes getting food quickly without getting out of the car is a necessity.
The Best Drive-Thru Restaurants in Austin
And in a city that does food so right, you shouldn’t be surprised to find some seriously good drive-thru restaurants in Austin. From BBQ to smoothies to a classic cheeseburger, there’s a little bit of everything on our guide to the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin.
12. Austin Java
A little-known drive-thru made famous by its extensive local coffee and drink menu, Austin Java serves up some very tasty lunch and brunch options as well. While they can offer items from their regular menu at the drive-thru, we recommend sticking to the specific drive-thru menu, as it showcases the items they can prepare most quickly to get you on your way. The breakfast tacos have some seriously fluffy eggs, a really nice portion of melty cheddar, and a super soft tortilla—basically, they’re a win-win-win. Throw in an order of Texas french toast or chicken and waffles for a sweet and savory brunch on the go from one of the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin.
11. Top Notch Hamburgers
While technically a “drive-in” not “drive-thru”, Top Notch Hamburgers does old-school hamburgers the right way—quickly and deliciously. The nostalgia is strong here, and you’ll undoubtedly be transported back to your favorite burger place from wherever you grew up. The menu is nothing fancy and exactly what you’d expect, the service is speedy fast (i.e. food in under five minutes on a busy day), and the hand-battered onion rings are everything—perfectly crisp and salty.
10. Torchy’s Tacos
Torchy’s Tacos is a true Austin original, with a menu full of Texas-style tacos (think brisket, smoked sausage, and fried avocado), and queso that has a cult following for good reason. While you can find a Torchy’s pretty much anywhere in the city, the only location with a drive-thru is in Spicewood Springs. We admit this location is a bit of a trek but are confident it still deserves a spot on our guide to the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin. Favorites include The Brushfire (jerk chicken that’s grilled to perfection every time, fresh mango, grilled jalapenos) and The Trailer Park (fried chicken, green chiles, and poblano ranch). And yes, you can get it “trashy” by adding queso. Ah, Texas.
Located in the Windsor Park neighborhood, Hank’s has a little drive-thru just to the side of their gorgeous patio space and is one of the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin. The menu here is the complete opposite of fast food—shrimp and grits, brussels sprouts, salmon cakes, and an AMAZING grilled cheese sandwich with gouda, roasted tomatoes, and caramelized onions. Prices here reflect the higher quality menu but everything is 100% worth it. Pro tip: enjoy the Parrano Grilled Cheese ASAP in your car for ultimate melty, ooey-gooey goodness. Waiting until you get home just isn’t an option!
Trying to find an Austinite who doesn’t love JuiceLand is nearly impossible, and we totally get it. This citywide staple totally deserves a spot on our best drive-thrus in Austin guide. Even though every location doesn’t have a drive-thru, many do, and their whole menu is always available to-go (smoothies, bowls, lattes, power shots, etc.). You can’t go wrong with your order here, but when in doubt, adding a dragon fruit swirl is always a refreshingly good idea (that color!).
7. Round Rock Donuts
Round Rock Donuts makes the very best donuts in Austin. The glazed donuts are the must-order menu item here. They’re a light-and-fluffy, delicate, heavenly type of donut that you could quite honestly inhale about six of in one sitting. The best part about all of this? Round Rock has a drive-thru in Austin that’s open from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., seven days a week.
6. Flyrite Chicken
For an option a little closer to traditional fast food but so much better in so many ways, we recommend Flyrite Chicken. The shatteringly crisp-coated chicken is the star of the show here (sandwiched or not) and the tots are a close second. Round things out with a surprisingly long list of housemade dipping sauces, and you’ll be convinced that Flyrite Chicken deserves a spot on our guide to the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin.
5. Plaza Colombian Coffee
Shifting gears from traditional fast food offerings, Plaza Colombian Coffee has a great drive-thru window. The coffee is great here to be sure, don’t sleep on the really solid food choices. The piping-hot, fresh empanadas are not to be missed (both salsas are a must) and the arepas are the perfect addition. As far as sweet treats are concerned, anything with guava will not disappoint. And if you have a few spare minutes, enjoy your meal out on the patio—it’s huge and incredibly fun!
4. P. Terry’s Burger Stand
P. Terry’s Burger Stand is Austin’s answer to California’s In-N-Out. Which one is better? Well, that’s a hotly contested topic among visitors and locals alike (we love them both!), but with more locations throughout Austin, a P. Terry’s drive-thru is never far, making it a delicious AND convenient option. The burgers here have a perfect formula: a thin but always juicy patty, amazingly melty American cheese, toasted bun, special sauce, and maybe some grilled onions and jalapenos if you’re feeling fancy. Add in some fried-just-for-you shoestring fries for the best classic combo you can find at a drive-thru restaurant in Austin.
3. Sala & Betty
Sandwiches are always a good drive-thru bet; they’re super portable and can hold up to a good “steaming” in a to-go container. And the sandwiches (and burgers) at Sala & Betty are one of our favorite options. They have a huge menu, but the burgers and sandwiches are what you’re here for—all served on bread from local-favorite, Easy Tiger Bakery. The Betty is our favorite, made with slow-roasted pork, smoked tomato aioli, mixed greens, green chile queso, and french fries (yes, fries inside the sandwich!). Trust us when we say this drive-thru restaurant in Austin is as good as it sounds.
2. Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon
It’s no secret that we love Fresa’s at Female Foodie. We’ve featured them in quite a few of our best of Austin guides and for good reason: the food is consistently delicious every. single. time. Fresa’s originally started as a drive-thru (and walk-up window), and as far as fast food is concerned, it just can’t get much better—top-notch tacos, phenomenal sides, housemade ice cream, and, of course, their namesake wood-grilled chicken that’s so juicy and tender, it might fall off the bone. Fresa’s is absolutely one of the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin.
1. True Texas BBQ
Hailing from beloved grocery store chain HEB, True Texas BBQ is a drive-thru restaurant in Austin offering classic BBQ eats. Choose from brisket, turkey, sausage, or pulled pork, add on some sides (coleslaw and potato salad are a nice tangy contrast to the richness of the meat), and don’t forget banana pudding for dessert. Or ask for your meat as a sandwich or loaded potatoes to switch it up—decadent yes, but absolutely worth it! Though True Texas BBQ might not be the best BBQ in Austin, it’s a really great option for BBQ on the go and snags the top spot on our guide to the best drive-thru restaurants in Austin.