A vacation doesn’t really begin until someone gets sick in the car. It’s family fun as everyone keeps an eye for the next car wash. You have to hose off the floor mats. You can save yourself trouble and even save your floor mats with this neat idea. Yes, commercial barf bags are available. This DIY Barf Bag allows you to use a large embroidery hoop for a nice large target. The neat thing is this stores nicely in your glove compartment, purse or backpack.
You’re craving smoked eggs or tongue or both. You’re on vacation. Perhaps you need to whip into a gas station for lobster bisque or a $400 bottle of Cristal Champagne. Relax, you’ve stopped at the right website.
I’m here to help you plan your vacation route. Right now, our team of cartographers is updating the Gas Station Gourmet map. You will be able to plan your trip around great gas station food reported on by the Gas Station Gourmet.
Spring Hill, Tennessee – Angelina & Made Rizo were raised around great food. Their grandparents owned a successful restaurant in Mexico. So, when they arrived in Tennessee they came with my favorite culinary secret weapon for success-grandmother’s recipes.
There’s something special about gas station food prepared by a family. I like to think it’s all the love that goes into the recipes. The Rizo sisters keep things going in the front while their husbands, Victor & Juan do the cooking. When the kids are not in school, they’re busy in the store as well. Customers are excited and line up for authentic Mexican home cooking. [READ MORE]
Lexington, South Carolina – Chris Williams dreamed of having a restaurant in which he could create his dream menu. He opened Roy’s Grille in 2014. In the January issue of NACS Magazine you’ll learn Williams’ strategy for overcoming the challenge of getting customers to eat inside a gas station.
The food is great because Williams pays attention to detail. He leaves nothing to chance. He makes his own bacon because he wants it perfect. Roy’s Grille is the place to get all the food for tailgating. He’s created a menu just for tailgating. Instead of worrying about what to eat, they stop by here, pick up food and all they need to do is enjoy the game. This brings new customers to Roy’s Grille. [READ MORE]
The waitstaff here wears black, the waiters wear ties, the food and service is not what one might expect in a gas station. Customers can attend wine tastings and wine or pairing dinners here. Pairing dinners offer diners a chance to experience a different wine with each course of five-course meal
Just to keep everyone grounded, customers use the convenience store restroom. It is a very very nice restroom. So many successful c-store owners have told me, “you have to be different.” Vive La Difference. [READ MORE]
Glen, NH – Are you looking for a store with a sense of fun? Check out the current issue of NACS Magazine. The Gas Station Gourmet takes you to the Glen Ledge Corner Store in Glen, NH. Dawn DiGeronimo, owner, makes sure the food is great and customers along with the staff have a little fun.
Irma’s Michigan Hotdog
Chef Jill Davis took her Grandma Irma’s Michigan Hot Dog and made it a customer favorite. Most grandmothers do great pies and casseroles. Irma was definitely thinking outside the culinary box reserved for grandmothers. This is a quarter pound hot dog with onions and a red meat sauce-not chili, meat sauce. Jill sears the hot dog on a grill to crisp it up. It’s served with onions on a giant hot dog bun. I’m alive today because I do not know what is in the secret red meat sauce, which again, is not chili. [READ MORE]
Lincoln, NE – I love people who think outside the box. It’s why I love doing the Gas Station Gourmet. I’ve seen a lot of things out there. When I found that Mike Anderson had a convenience store in his Ford dealership I was completely hooked on this story. He owns owns five automobile dealerships and a Honda Powersports dealership, in two Nebraska cities and in St. Joseph, Missouri. What could round things out? A convenience store of course.
He actually has two stores. The other is a free standing location called Andy’s Express. Mike looks at the convenience store business a little differently that some owners. “We’re not in the c-store business, we’re in the people business,” he explained. [READ MORE]
LOUISIANA – The Bayou State is known for great fishing, hunting and of course Mardi Gras, but year-round, folks are all about the food. Bourbon St. Delis are located in 17 of the 38 Shop Rite locations. This is a must-stop for great Cajun food. Of course, it’s in a gas station. That’s why I’m here.
Cajun Fare & New Orleans Flare
I had a chance to learn about traditional Cajun fare for my February NACS Magazine story. You’ll find some of the best boudin in the state at the BSD’s. It’s an old family recipe. Trent Menard, food manager of Rascal’s Specialty Meats (a subsidiary of Shop Rite) uses his grandfather’s recipe to make this Cajun favorite. If you’re looking for a convenient food to eat on the go, try the boudin balls. They are crazy delicious. [READ MORE]
I’m humbly grateful to the creative people in these stores for taking the time to let me peak inside. They take risks, work hard and have stories that continue to fascinate me. They’re cooking some of the best food in America.
Next time you fuel up, take a walk from the pump to the store. I’ve found lobster bisque, Cornish game hen, crawfish and even ponce.
Thanks to the good folks at NACS Magazine for giving me an opportunity to write about wonderful food in America’s gas stations. Thanks to readers who email their ideas and experiences.
Have a happy and prosperous 2016. [READ MORE]
Schaeffer’s Corner Market, Ruff’s Dale, PA – Have you ever been in the car & thought, “I’d love pulled pork. It’s going to be a mess to eat in the car”?
Krist Ranker & the folks at Schaeffer’s Corner Market in Ruff’s Dale, PA didn’t take their thinking caps off for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
They came up with this pork sundae. It’s pulled pork & mashed potatoes topped off with a cherry tomato.
Ruff’s Dale, PA – Schaeffer’s Corner Market – I profile this store in the current issue of NACS Magazine. The donut-croissant hybrid caught my attention. It’s called a cronut. Kris Ranker creates unique menu items with the cronut.
Bismarck, North Dakota – Horizon Market has a lot to like. When you need bread or milk, it doesn’t get more convenient than a drive-thru window.
Horizon’s Cup O’Snack makes snacking as easy as drinking a beverage.
Casey Clement & his team have a real commitment to the community. They use the Horizon food truck to help local students to raise money.
Do you have this month’s NACS Magazine?There’s so much more to this story. Catch the rest of it in the current issue of NACS Magazine.
If you’re in the industry and not a subscriber you’re missing great information.
The Gas Station Gourmet column features individual operators who have out of the box ideas.
If you’ve had great food in America’s gas stations, let me know by emailing me at
Mouton Cove, Louisiana – One of the things I love about doing the Gas Station Gourmet has to be running across the creative marketing of famliar items. Here’s a great idea from deep in the marshes of South Louisiana. Not long before you drive straight into the Gulf of Mexico you’ll drive by a small gas station in Mouton Cove called Bon Ami, French for good friend . Like many stores, they sell hard boiled eggs (HBE’s.) HBE’s are very popular.
I’ve just never seen hardboiled eggs described like this. [READ MORE]
Sarasota, FL – The fried chicken at Fruitville Texaco has gotten a lot of attention from the Florida media. It’s crazy good and there is a secret.
Owner, Steve Stottlemyer knew customers could not get enough of his food. So, he decided to expand his food program with the best barbecue around and serve it in a unique atmosphere, a traditional Seminole Chickee Hut. I know it says “tiki”- I’ll let Steve tell you about it when you visit.
Don’t be surprised if you hear Dixieland Jazz or a little Cajun Music here. Steve’s a big fan Louisiana music. [READ MORE]
North Fort Myers, FL – Lawhon’s Grocery & Meat Market is my kind of place. It’s big on food, big on service, big on creativity, but it’s small, rural and family owned.
My old buddy, Keith Perrin suggested I check this place out for a story. He was spot on.
Richard Lawhon owned a grocery store in the Fort Myers, FL area since 1958. He wanted another location and decided on this one. He finally bought in 1976. Lawhon, his wife Libby and his 18 year-old daughter, Laurine, walked in and opened it as Lawhon’s Grocery & Meats. Today, Laurine Lawhon Belanger, her husband Larry and daughter Teresa carry on the family business in a rural store that’s as fast paced as its urban cousins. [READ MORE]
CENTRAL EXPRESS CASHTON (Cashton, WI) – This is great for the kids. It’s great for the store. If you’ve heard me speak or read my stories, one of the most important things independently owned c-stores can do is to be part of their community. A good start is to bring the community into your store.
I love this. The kids are happy. Each time they pass the Central Express Cashton what will they think?
These kids will be back & next time, they’ll bring parents. One day, they will return as parents and buy ice cream for their children and milk and soft drinks and a great meal. [READ MORE]