Takeout windows are as easy as one (walk-up), two (order), three (eat). Super convenient and low contact, even without a pandemic they feel like a novel way to grab a sip, a slice, or even a soft serve. Here are a few of our favorite restaurant walk-up windows serving food and drink through a different frame.
Driftwood Coffee Co.8295 West Jefferson Street, Peoria
Driftwood Coffee Co. in downtown Peoria checks all the boxes. Nuanced drip coffee and “spros” by local roasters like Pair Cupworks and Mythical Coffee. A seasonal lattes menu that tempts with house-made syrups like lavender and cookie butter. A design-forward space with sleek seating, rotating art, and a bold mural by local artist Timmy Ham. And a takeout window and patio for both quick pit stops and stay-awhile sips.
Topo301 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
More roadside attraction than restaurant, you can’t miss Topo. Hello, there’s a giant gopher on top of the Gilbert Heritage District spot. Just as iconic as the building is the takeout window and menu, a small but mighty selection of burritos, elote, and soft serve, including prickly pear. It's all served through the pickup window with a giant gopher-sized smile. Stay for dinner: Joe’s Real BBQ has a takeout window right next door.
Oven+Vine14 West Vernon Avenue
First, you have Oven+Vine, a neighborhood wine bar tucked off central with cozy-up delights like shareable flatbreads and build-your-own charcuterie boards served through a big bar window. The patio has spread out seating and grassy space to make it feel all your own. Second, you have Birdhaus Coffeebar, a walk-up coffee shop with local Xanadu Coffee Co. drip, fluffy made-to-order waffles, and picnic tables right next door. Owned by Michelle and Dylan Bethge, both are rare finds you’ll either want to tell all your friends about or keep it hush-hush — no in-between.
Kream Coffee5102 North Central Avenue
Bean nerds come to Kream Coffee for the single-origin, direct-trade roasts. Pastry lovers come for the perfect pop-tarts made by Süss Pastry. Design aficionados come for the modern, minimalist vibe. Tucked in the front of For The People, a gift and furniture shop that sells only the most beautiful wares, all of the above come for the takeout window, a coffee convenience that makes to-go trendy.
Mike’s Grub1845 East University Drive, Tempe
Mike’s Grub knows friends don’t always agree on where to eat. One wants pizza, the other wants tacos, but the twain shall meet at Mike’s, a walk-up window and patio only spot near Arizona State University with something for everyone. A mix of salads, street tacos, pizza, breakfast burritos, and coffee. As for treats, find a sweet cinnamon bun and oat milk horchata — both of which can hang with the carne asada fries and a Mexican Coke.
Red Devil Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria3102 East McDowell Road
The best part about the takeout window at Red Devil’s mother ship location on McDowell Road is the front-row seat you get to pizza tossing. Up goes the twirling dough and down it comes, a frenzy of slinging, stretching, saucing, sprinkling, and sizzling that can leave the spectator hypnotized. It’s spellbinding to watch … and later eat. Using the same recipe since it opened in 1960, Red Devil has time-tested pizza, all bubbly with blistered cheese and a crispy crust. Delizioso!
Grubstak4165 South Gilbert Road, Chandler
It’s no shocker Grubstak was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s not just the punchy flavors and hefty portions, but the mountain-like meals that give the food a Guy Fieri feel. Take the Sweet Lou’s BBQ, shredded braised beef, applewood-smoked bacon, and house-made slaw piled on crispy waffle fries. Or the stacked chilaquiles with its layers of corn tortilla crisps, Southwestern beans, shredded chicken, ranchero sauce, cheese, and scrambled eggs. In the words of Fieri, it’s bomb-dot-comb tasty, and Grub’s pick-up window only makes it more dynamite.
Welcome Diner929 East Pierce Street
Welcome Diner feels like such a close friend, it’s easy to forget it has a walk-up and takeout window … and flawless Southern-style fried chicken on flaky homemade buttermilk biscuits. And crispy shoestring jackfruit fries topped with coleslaw and Caroline barbecue sauce that’s last-meal epic. Oh, and a hurricane cocktail to beat all hurricanes. And finally, an open-air patio perfect for most small gatherings.
Fàme Caffe4700 North Central Avenue
Fàme Caffe has the breakfast-meets-lunch indulgences you'd expect from a brunch go-to, like hunky French toast, gorgeous eggs Benny, and a breakfast sandwich stacked with eggs, cheese, and thick-cut bacon on a billowy buttermilk bun that leaves an impression. And yes, it has plenty of boozy excuses to drink before noon, like mimosas by the pitcher and a bacon-pickle-olive-studded bloody mary. But what we didn’t expect: its walk-up window is making takeout brunch a thing. Translation: Breakfast tacos in bed … or park … or patio.
Liyuen Chinese Restaurant1602 South Seventh Avenue
The ordering system at Liyuen isn’t exactly an art form, but it works. First, you wait your turn. Lineups are common around lunch, but even, say, a Wednesday at 4 p.m. can draw a crowd. To order, you shout through the window and you’re given a token with a number on it. You can exchange it for popular dishes include jalapeno chicken wings, orange chicken, and shrimp fried rice. The service isn’t anything to brag about, but who cares when portions are hefty, prices are not, and the food comes out piping hot.
Shakes & Cones7215 East First Street, Scottsdale
Shakes & Cones’ walk-up window feels nostalgic. Could be the whiff of a waffle cone or the swirly nod to Dairy Queen — not that this is anything like the artificial stuff from childhood. Creamy and dense, its organic soft serve is made from scratch in small batches, with no preservatives or chemicals. Get it twirled on a cone, served sundae style with organic hot fudge, or whirled in a milkshake with banana, brownie bites, and Butterfinger — all bomb.
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