Gas station food doesn’t always conjure up the highest images of your culinary fantasies, and often brings an unpleasant side of indigestion, but there are exceptions to every rule.
Here are six gas station food oases across the country where fine dining and delicacies extend beyond the aisle that has your favorite Hostess snack.
Oklahoma Joe’s, Kansas City, Kan.
Hold on to your slippers, Dorothy. Some of the best barbecue in Kansas City, and some say in the country, can be found inside this gas station. Long lines of barbecue-craving customers form outside the Shamrock station just before lunchtime each day for a taste of Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. The Z-Man ($6.49) gets the most attention, and understandably so with its stack of thin-sliced, juicy brisket smoked for 15-17 hours before serving, topped off with smoked provolone cheese, two crispy onion rings, and Oklahoma Joe’s signature barbecue sauce, all inside a warmly toasted Kaiser roll.
Tioga Gas Mart featuring Whoa Nellie Deli – Lee Vining, Calif.
A scenic view of Mono Lake in the Sierra Mountains, live music, filet mignon, and mango margaritas – sounds just like your typical gas station dining, right? With entrees like rack of elk, buffalo meatloaf, and fish tacos, the Whoa Nellie Deli inside Tioga Gas Mart definitely holds true to it’s name. Adding to the wow-factor, this fill up spot is only open six months of the year, from the end of April until the end of October. Prices range from $10-20.
Red Fish Rick’s - Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
Don’t let entrée names like the Garbage Can Slam, Redneck Enchiladas, and Swamp Pie fool you. Red Fish Rick’s is much more than a typical gas station diner. Everything is homemade, cooked from scratch, and nothing on the menu is over $10. The locals love the breakfast burritos, house made sausage gravy. And how could you not love something called the Garbage Can Slam? This extra large breakfast sandwich combines home fries, eggs, made-from-scratch sausage patty -- all smothered in sausage gravy and stuck between two slices of Texas toast for just $5.99.
Chef Point Café – Watauga, Tex.
You may be hard pressed to find an open pump during meal times at the Conoco gas station in Watauga, Tex. Customers quickly fill parking spots and then pull into the gas-pump bays before heading inside to anxiously await, sometimes more than 30 minutes, a meal that’s “better than sex,” --at least that’s what the popular “Better Than Sex Fried Chicken” would suggest. This former convenience store turned upscale diner has expanded several times since opening in 2003 to keep up with the hungry crowds coming through. Another favorite is the Blackened Stuffed Pork Chop ($17.99), a juicy pork chop hand stuffed with pepper jack cheese and fresh crab meat, laid over a bed of angel hair pasta, and smothered in asiago sauce.
Chevron, Oxford, Miss.
The 45 minute line wrapping all around the aisles and out the door of this Chevron on game days isn’t for the potato chips, energy drinks, or even the wiper fluid. It’s for the hot, greasy, crunchy skewers of poultry known as Chicken-on-a-Stick. This fried piece of deliciousness found inside this very typical looking gas station is a hidden gem, and at $3.25 a piece, these fan favorites sell by the hundreds.
El Carajo International Tapas & Wines – Miami, Fla.
Old world Spain and new age flavors come together in Miami, Florida at El Carajo International Tapas and Wines. Boasting a selection of more than 1,500 wines, 150 beers, and 40 sakes, this BP station is known for its taps as much as its tapas, which are pretty darn good. The Camarones al Albarino ($15), shrimp in an Albarino Wine Sauce, is one of many customer favorites, but the giant Tablas steal the show. These large wooden planks are filled with heaps of juicy meats and/or seafood for 2-3 people to share and cost between $30-40 each.