Now Taking Your Orders for Drive-Thru of the Year

So far, 3 categories in the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate have been been opened up for your nominations: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Teardown, and Parking Lot of the Year. Up next: another brand-new category, specially selected for this year’s competition: Drive-Thru of the Year.

There are of course so many drive-thrus to choose from in the greater Houston region. But surely one stands out? Maybe it has special accommodations for unique vehicles; or maybe it’s outfitted in a way that prevents all those nasty exhaust fumes from blowing into your car; or maybe it’s the kind of place that makes you just want to drive on thru. Really, it’s up to you to decide. What drive-thru is worth idling for?

As usual, your spin will make the difference between a plain ol’ nomination and a compelling choice for the award. You’ll find the rules for the nominating process here. What makes your favorite drive-thru deserve this honor?

You’ll have until midnight next Monday to get your orders in for both categories announced today. So take your time, think about it, and pull on up to the comments section below (or the Swamplot inbox) when you’re ready with your nomination.

26 Comment

  • One of my favorites is the Chick-fil-A off 59 between Kirby and Buffalo Speedway.

    Cool features include:

    1) Early pioneer of the two-lane drive thru (including neat automatic-pulley system to transport food from the main building to the serving shack)
    2) During rush/lunch time they send out workers to take orders before you even hit the loudspeaker menu to expedite the process.

    Both of these contribute to some mind boggling efficiency of getting cars through during lunchtime. I’d be interested to see how they compare with other restaurants on total numbers served in a given time/day/week, and would bet they’d be at or near the top.

  • Absolutely agree with Ramsey. I personally prefer the Chick-Fil-A off of Holcombe in West University. I always try to compliment their staff during busy lunch hours for their speed and excellent efficiency. If every fast food restaurant ran as smooth as Chick-Fil-A this city would get so much more done.

  • I THIRD the nomination for the two-lane Chik Fil A drive thru. You know it’s awesome when they can afford to shut down the second lane for a while to add freakin landscaping with a fountain and pond between the lanes! I mean, come on!!

  • I fourth the nomination of chik-fil-a. Was there during the lunch rush and I was in and out in 5 minutes. Food was good too!

  • Last time I went through Chik-fil-a at lunch time they had added even more workers outside with condiment racks near the drive-thru exit. They’re definitely taking it to a whole new level of efficiency. The only thing I wish they would improve is their menu. “Now we’ve added spice to our chicken sandwich.” *zzzzzzz* But yes, their drive-thru rocks!

  • I also agree with the Chick-fil-a drive thru. Most have workers come out and assist with the efficiency, but the 59/Kirby one blew me away the first time. Unreal. West Holcombe is just as quick without the dual lanes.

    I also nominate The W Grill at Washington and Durham. The fresh food makes it a little slow but the staff is very friendly and the food is beyond worth the wait.

  • El Rey on Washington. The food is excellent but the best part is when occasionally you see a douche in line between cars ordering thru drive-thru lane late weekend night. Also, on normal weekdays, the drive thru line sometimes extends on one of Shepherd lanes.

  • Makes me want an In ‘N Out burger.

    Double Double Animal Style.

  • Eskimo Hut off Louetta… It’s enclosed and has daiquiris! -All sealed in a plastic bag, so technically you aren’t breaking any open container laws. I think there is a new one off Beechnut. But drive through where they fill your c-store order and have shot specials has to rank up there… just wish they were in town as well,

  • I would like to nominate the Shipley’s on Ella and 34th in Oak Forest, if only for the fact that I’ve never seen a donut shop drive thru that consistently has a line of cars stretching out into the street, reducing traffic to one lane for at least a half block.

    Having moved to the area in the last year, I find myself very fascinated with their range of busy hours. Mornings, especially Sunday, I get. But every night after 10pm? What goes on there that late? Do all of my neighbors suddenly have kolache cravings?

  • Yes, there’s also a Daiquiri Shack on Cullen a little ways north of BW8. Surprised the hell out of me; I thought that was only a Louisiana thing. They also advertise “sealed” drinks.

  • I forgot to mention that I officially put forth the Daiquiri Shack for nomination.

  • Whataburger @ 3712 South Shepherd. Gotta love the triangle and waiting in the street. #1, no onions.

  • +1 for El Rey on Washington, for the quality food and the quality people watching opportunities.

  • i’m pretty sure chic-fil-a has this one in the bag, if you don’t agree see the 1 billion votes/nominations it has already!

  • Just to add some more variety I also nominate the drive-thru’s at two Beck’s Prime locations Augusta and Kirby.

    Kirby location gets the nod for its creativity. No more than three (maybe) cars cold fit in its Kirby side drive-thru befor sticking out into the street, so they have another window with its own ordering lane on the other side of the building.

    Augusta’s drive-thru has a nice and pretty windy path running alongside their awesome back patio. Good eye-candy for the longer-than most wait.

    Both get points for offering a $29.95 Texas rib eye steak. I like the idea of getting a steak passed to me through a window. Not that I would ever order it, but I like to at least have the option.

  • WB at the triangle was better before they moved the order box. Before, you could have five cars between the order box and the window, increasing the chances that your order would actually be ready by the time you got to the window.

    #4, add pickles, add cheese, sub mustard instead of mayo.

  • it’s nice having a WB nearby, but that shepherd whataburger is the worst one in i’ve been to in the greater houston area.

  • Antones Rice Village, it’s so bad it’s good. Smoked turkey and an original and I’m out…

  • Wow, I am surprised at all the Chik-fil-a noms. I would never dream of getting in any of those lines, though I do give props to them for hustling like they do out there taking orders on foot. But I get anxious just looking at it or even walking through it.

    I love W grill at Washington and Durham. Add to that the fact that they are now selling the sealed drinks of Louisiana (it ain’t an open container if there’s tape on the top and no straw in it!) and I’m even a little happier. Better than basic fast food and now with a pina colada. In and out!

  • I vote for the Goode Co. pecan pie drive through for the holiday season. Mmmmm.

    I tried to go through the Chik-fil-A drive through last Sunday and my experience wasn’t nearly as good as the rest of you so I’m going to throw a -1 for that.

    The city of Houston also gets a general vote just for being the most drive thru friendly city in America. I’d challenge anyone to find another city with a greater per capita number of drive thru banks, restaurants, dry cleaners, daiquiris, donuts, pharmacies, coffee, etc.

  • @biggerintexas: If you tried to go to Chick Fil A on Sunday, there is a good reason why the drive thru didn’t impress. They’re closed on Sundays. Maybe you meant Saturday :-)

  • Off-topic, but regarding the Shepherd Whataburger: While I appreciate the fact that they moved the restrooms inside, I still can’t get used to how spatially weird the dining room is now.

  • The parking lot at the Kirby Whole Foods gets my nomination. I think it’s part of a plan to save the planet- so small and unnavigable that you’ll choose to buy inorganic veggies and fruits from a store much closer to your house with a bigger parking lot.

    More importantly, the people are not friendly. Once you enter the lot, be ready for war. I never knew vegetarians could be so vicious.

  • I “second” the Chick-fil-a on 59 comments.

    I would also like to give the Starbucks on 59 @ Cummins a mention for having some of the laziest, piece of crap customers, who prefer to sit in a drive-thru for 15 minutes, blocking traffic and other customers, rather than park their car, walk inside and return with coffee in hand in 5 minutes. I am continually baffled by this behavior.

  • Connies Frozen Custard on Jones Rd. near Cypress North Houston