Erick Smith

Word association for San Luis Obispo: Cal Poly, beaches, nice weather, unique downtown, no drive-thrus at fast-food restaurants, college town- Wait, there is not a single drive-thru in all of San Luis Obispo? That must be a joke.

Sadly, it’s not.

Throughout the city, drive-thrus are nowhere to be seen which truly puts the SLO in slow. I am willing to wager there is not a single student who, when looking at prospective colleges, examines the fast food restaurants in town. To everyone outside of San Luis Obispo, a drive-thru is commonplace.

At first, walking into all fast-food restaurants seems a little strange, but over time the novelty of driving past a window to pick up food has worn off. After living here for two years, walking into Carl’s Jr. or Jack in the Box is the same as heading downtown to dine-in at Firestone’s.

Business senior Dan Beuchat echoed this sentiment when he said he enjoys the different lifestyle stemming from the town’s lack of drive-thrus.

“I like that there are no drive-thrus here because people don’t need to be fed through a window,” Beuchat said. “It took over five years (his time since coming to Poly) to develop this opinion but the more you are here, in San Luis, the more you learn to like the lifestyle.”

Eliminating the city’s drive-thrus might also get people passing through to stay a little longer until they hit Atascadero or Pismo Beach. If this is the case, I applaud the city.

This small city maintains a slower, more relaxed pace which cannot be found in the bustling urban settings of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Only cities not influenced by corporate pressure can pass an ordinance eliminating a major element of fast food corporations.

Our city’s lack of drive-thrus is at first a bit confusing, but over time the lifestyle creates a charm forgotten in most towns.

I recommend embracing the thought of a city without drive-thrus. In what has become a fast-paced American society, it is still nice to know a place exists where people are forced to momentarily slow down, step out of their cars, interact with other community members and eat a meal off of a table instead of a dashboard.

Erick Smith is a journalism junior and the Mustang Daily assistant news editor

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1 Comment

  1. I lived in San Luis Obispo back in the late 90’s, and attended Cal Poly after graduating high school.
    Although it is a beautiful town, I couldn’t wait to move away from there,I’m used to big Cities and coming from Texas this was a big eye opener!
    I recommended this town for a visit,but never to live in unless you plan to retire out of the big city life,moreover not having drive thrus is an inconvenience if you have a late night craving!
    Overall it’s a peaceful,warm welcoming town, but I could never reside there again.


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