Gas Stations Go Gourmet

food-employee NRA foodserviceUSA Today finds a number of gas stations are challenging customer perceptions with upscale food offerings.

C-stores have been climbing the foodservice ladder for years, striving to show customers that the gas station sandwich from 10 years ago has gotten a gourmet, fresh-prepared makeover. This week, gas station foodservice received some positive national attention from USA Today, which profiled a number of c-store and gas station establishments who are changing the game with upscale foodservice offerings that would rival most restaurant fare—and making customers take notice.

USA Today found customers lining up at Fast Gourmet in Washington, D.C.—located inside a Valero gas station—to purchase, meals such as yellowfin tuna steak, spinach pie and chivito, a South American sandwich made from tenderloin and ham. And forget the perception of aging cooler case sandwiches—at Fast Gourmet, most everything at the restaurant is made from scratch.

“And here’s another bonus: It’s clean. Really clean. Even the restroom,” the article noted.

Meanwhile in Watauga, Texas The Chef Point Cafe attached to a Conoco gas station has been featured on the Food Network and provides meals such as escargot in garlic wine butter, scallops in curry sauce and duck breast with spicy plum sauce.

Parker’s Market in Savannah, Ga., located in a renovated automobile dealership from the late 1800s, was also mentioned in the article. Rated Savannah’s fourth best restaurant in 2012, according to TripAdvisor, it specializes in upscale Southern comfort foods.

“If you’ve never chowed down at a gas station, well, maybe it’s time to reconsider,” the article noted.  “Five-star filling stations are popping up across the nation. And they will surprise you, in a good way. I’m talking pork-belly sandwiches, tapenade-topped goat burgers and pan-seared sea scallops. Not your standard gas-station fare. So be on the lookout: The same place you would go to buy energy drinks and beef jerky might now also house a snazzy food venue.”

Other gas stations changing customer perceptions of just what a gas station can provide:

•  The Saxapahaw General Store is housed in an abandoned cotton mill in Saxapahaw, N.C. and features contemporary American cuisine with French influences.

• The Green Spot in Dallas has a local market each week featuring Dallas-based artists.

•  Tioga Gas Mart in Lee Vining, Calif., hosts weekly concerts in the summer that guests can enjoy while eating their lobster taquitos and sipping mango margaritas. At Tioga, the owners are even adding large outdoor patio with a park-like theme, with the intention of being able to book weddings.

Just another sign that times are changing and c-stores are altering public perceptions with new and exciting offerings.

For the full USA Today article:





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