Six metro Atlanta drive-thrus with far more interesting options than a Big Mac

Tacos, Ethiopian cuisine, even cakes


Cococakes by CocoCococakes by Coco
The talent behind this Tucker pastry shop is Corey McDonald, who was inspired to learn to bake by his mother and grandmother. Cococakes accepts preorders for full cakes, but the discerning driver need simply pull up to the window—no advanced planning is necessary to get your hands on one of McDonald’s “chunks,” i.e., generous squares cut from a sheet cake. Buttery caramel is a customer fave. So are lemon poundcake, German chocolate, and strawberry buttercream. 4404 Hugh Howell Road #26, Tucker, 770-934-2626

Arhiboo Shawarma
A sweet little diner-style glass box in an otherwise unglamorous parking lot just off the Perimeter, Arhiboo offers familiar Middle Eastern favorites: falafel, dolmas, kofta kebabs, and the titular shawarma. 4865 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen
The undisputed queen of Ethiopian cuisine in Atlanta, Desta serves traditional dishes such as tibs (spiced beef, lamb, or other meat), stewed legumes and vegetables, and kitfo (Ethiopian-style steak tartare), all meant to be scooped up with torn pieces of injera, the seductively spongy, slightly sour national flatbread. Since opening in 2006, the restaurant has grown to seat some 250, but you can dodge the crowds via a little-known drive-thru lane. 3086 Briarcliff Road, 404-929-0011

Taqueria Don Sige #2
The dining room of this Forest Park taqueria—an offshoot of the College Park original—is currently closed, but takeout is the ticket. The draw is undoubtedly the restaurant’s luscious birria, available here in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and tortas, as well as ramen. However you take yours, you could do worse than to chase it with Don Sige’s fresas con crema—chilled strawberries in sweet cream. 4840 Jonesboro Road, Forest Park, 404-748-9159

Mama’s Cocina Latina
This popular spot offers any number of dishes optimized for eating behind the wheel (tacos, empanadas), but the real draw is its generous burritos. Try the burrito supremo—filled with ground beef or chicken and fixings including guac, black beans, cheese, and sour cream—and don’t forget the horchata. 1958 Piedmont Road, 404-874-6152

Taco T
Hard taco shells may evoke a certain nostalgia for those who remember them from the school cafeteria, but at Taco T, they’re handmade and encase fillings that are anything but elementary. (“American-style” toppings—lettuce, cheese, and sour cream—remain an option.) Soft tacos are also available, along with burritos and all-day breakfast. 1065 Windy Hill Road, Smyrna, 770-438-6500

This article appears in our June 2021 issue.