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Amy's Drive-Thru eyes Marin County location

Eat your heart out everyone else, Amy's Drive-Thru is headed for a second location in Marin.

Two years after the organic, vegetarian frozen food manufacturing giant opened the popular vegetarian restaurant in Rohnert Park, the company is in talks with planners in Corte Madera to put another drive-thru at a vacant Denny's diner at 5839 Paradise Drive.

'Amy's Kitchen was founded more than 30 years ago based on the belief that good food should be available to all,' said Director of Restaurant Operations Paul Schiefer in an email. 'Today we are working to bring our organic, family-oriented dining experience to our neighbors in Corte Madera. 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.'

No permits have been filed for the project, according to Adam Wolff, Corte Madera planning director.

'(The project) is in the early stages and no applications have been filed yet,' he said.

A preliminary hearing with the Planning Commission will take place probably in September, to discuss design concepts and policy issues and get early feedback and public comment, Wolff said.

The zoning ordinance in Corte Madera does not allow for drive-throughs, but there is a process to change the ordinance, which would extend the process another month or two.

Wolff said he didn't think Amy's intends to keep or renovate the Denny's building.

The Rohnert Park drive-through opened in July 2015 at 58 Golf Course Drive W., just off Highway 101, down the block from an In-N-Out Burger restaurant and on the road to Graton Resort & Casino. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant has a number of sustainability features. It's topped with a 'living roof' planted with drought-tolerant and native plants. A reclaimed-water system irrigates the roof and landscaping around the structure.

It offers vegetarian, non-GMO, organic menu items priced under $10.

In its first year, the drive-through served a half-million veggie burger patties, and the company regularly gets requests to open restaurants across the U.S., spokespersons said.

Rachel and Andy Berliner started Amy's Kitchen, named for their daughter, with a frozen pot pie in 1987. The Petaluma-based company now employs nearly 1,600 people and sells about 140 vegetarian products, as well as Kosher, gluten-free and other special diet products. In 2012 they reported gross sales of more than $300 million.

Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at Cynthia.Sweeney@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4259.

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