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Rancho Bravo ready to shift Pike/Pine’s only drive-thru into action


(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

As a plan to create a pedestrian only area in Pike/Pine’s nightlife zone moves forward, an equally audacious machination in an entirely different gear is also being readied for the two-block radius.

Rancho Bravo’s drive-thru is a “go.”

“I want to make sure the pedestrians and people in the cars are safe,” Rancho’s Freddy Rivas tells CHS.

Sometime likely in June, the not-so-new feature at the six-year-old Mexican joint will swing back into action. The signs are being painted, the menu boards and ordering intercom box have been in place all along.

The drive-thru is likely to instantly become a nightlife magnet on scale with the ultimately doomed Broadway Jack in the Box…

The drive-thru is likely to instantly become a nightlife magnet on scale with the ultimately doomed Broadway Jack in the Box which sometimes required SPD traffic control at the height of its weekend business hours. If Mix were rapping in the early 2000s, he might have made a different choice. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill, like any good American neighborhood, has a good history of food and cars intertwined.

Now, Rancho will suddenly become the only operating drive-thru restaurant in Seattle’s core. The Pike/Pine scene already attracts plenty of cruisers despite a slow go on clogged Friday and Saturday night roads. Expect a scene.

“First, we have to have enough people,” Rivas said of the logistics of opening what he believes will be a new feature that will significantly increase sales volumes at the restaurant. “We are ramping up.”

Rivas said there isn’t much left to be done to prepare the drive-thru component to become fully operational. The old fast food chain restaurant’s lane is still in place and has been used as employee parking. Rivas said he is also planning to add driveway mirrors to help make the entrance and exit safer for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The restaurant at the corner of 10th and Pine across from Cal Anderson is open seven days a week starting at 10:30 AM, stays open until 10:30 PM on Sunday through Tuesday, midnight on Wednesday and Thursday, and 3 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.

Reactivating the drive-thru has been a goal for Rivas from the day he opened the affordable and muy auténtico Rancho Bravo on Capitol Hill in the converted KFC in spring 2009. Despite Pike/Pine’s designation as a pedestrian zone, the fast food chain’s parking lot and drive-thru was passed along to Rancho Bravo as a continued use of the facilities.

CHS asked the Department of Planning and Development for more information about the drive-thru but we were told they would need more time to review the situation. A few years back when we first learned about Rivas’s drive-thru ambitions, a DPD spokesperson told CHS that because Rancho Bravo had begun operations on the property within a year of KFC parent Tricon Global’s exit, the continued use of the drive-thru was allowed. In the meantime, any other neighborhood businesses that might want to add a new drive-thru of their own are out of luck.

The Seattle Department of Transportation, meantime, told CHS that drive-thrus are a DPD issue. And the state liquor board told CHS that Rancho’s liquor license doesn’t mean it can’t also operate a drive-thru. But, no, you can’t buy beer.

The move continues a series of investments and improvements Rivas has had planned for Rancho Bravo’s E Pine location and is now putting in place now that it appears the development eventually planned for the corner has been moved, at least for now, to the backseat. Now, He’s busy preparing for an exciting summer at the popular restaurant.

“My goal is for this to run smoothly and positive,” Rivas said.

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11 thoughts on “Rancho Bravo ready to shift Pike/Pine’s only drive-thru into action

  1. This is going to be a mess. As if 10th Ave isn’t a gigantic clusterf**k already during Fri/Sat night shit-storm hours. Now we’ll have cars snaking out the drive in onto 10th all the way back to Pike; and cars trying to turn left into the drive-in coming from Pine, clogging up10th back onto Pine. What a mess. I hope they don’t try to run this on Fri/Sat nights. Disaster waiting to happen.

      • I live a few blocks from there, and you couldn’t pay me to go out to the Pike/Pine area after 9 on Friday and Saturday nights. I don’t think there’s any way it could get worse, since it’s already a twice-weekly disaster.

      • It’s only a disaster if you are in a car, so that is self inflicted. I think it’s crazy that any of their normal clientele (which I’m a part of) would consider using their drive-thru, especially on weekend evenings. If you drive to the Pike/Pine corridor on a Saturday night you are inviting frustration with open arms.

        The Rancho Bravo people always seem really nice, but this is kind of a bad neighbor decision. Though, I wonder if they’ll let cyclists use it?

      • I agree, I’ll still go there but no way by car on a Fri or Sat. As for bicycles… I have denied service on bike before at drive-up windows. There must be some liability or law or something. One time, I actually had someone let me sit in their car to make the order, then get out. Silly, but it worked.

      • hear hear! you’re crazy to try to drive in that area on the weekend, anyway. If people want to line up around the block in their cars just to use the drive through, let them. It will be fun to watch from across the street

    • I can’t imagine this working. The drive-thru on this building is a throwback to a much different era in the life of this area and just isn’t suited for today’s super-dense urban environment. Once summer arrives and this new fast-dining option becomes known citywide the resulting traffic mess will likely be unsolvable except to close it. I like Rancho Bravo, but this idea just doesn’t sound promising.

    • You’re not going to be able to access the parking spots now if there is a drive through line snaking through the parking lot. If this drive-through is anything like the old Jack’n’the Box on Broadway drive through, it’s going to be a complete disaster. I’m assuming it will be even worse.

  2. Echoing comments above – this is going to be a disaster on weekends. And its completely a giant step backwards for making Pike/Pine more pedestrian friendly.