Home of California's First Drive-Thru Says NO MORE!

Home of California's First Drive-Thru Says NO MORE!

Food & Drink

Home of California's First Drive-Thru Says NO MORE!


By Cari Martens

Baldwin Park, Calif., which claims to be the birthplace of California’s drive-through craze, has had enough already. Six decades after the first one went in for In-N-Out burgers, the blue collar town apparently wants no more fast food restaurants with drive-up windows.

With lines of idling cars stretching onto neighborhood streets, Baldwin Park is banning new drive-throughs in hopes of ridding its reputation as a great place to get a fast food burger without leaving your car.

There’s certainly some irony here. Baldwin Park once proudly claimed to have opened California’s first drive-through restaurant more than 60 years ago. Now, evidently, the bloom is off the rose and a city ordinance bans new development of drive-ups.

City officials in this 6.5-square-mile suburb east of Los Angeles have made a healthy choice for the community, says Salvador Lopez, a Baldwin Park city planner who helped write the ordinance. It took effect over the July 4 weekend. The ordinance is, in effect, a nine-month ban, that will be reviewed after that period.

Health concerns were a major part of the decision to curb fast-food restaurant growth in Baldwin Park, but city officials also took note of complaints from residents about the traffic snarls created by long lines of cars waiting to get into the drive-through restaurants. There are 17 drive-throughs in the town of 90,000 people, with the question most often asked, “Want fries with that?”

Looks like people there will just have to wait a while before Drive-up Number 18 opens up.

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