OK, so typically a gas station meal is nothing to look forward to, but rather a small price Travel Nurses have to pay for everything else that is awesome about life on the open road. Most gas station meals are kind of akin to what one might call a sad desk lunch — only on the move. Maybe a sweaty hotdog, some stale nacho chips with atomic cheese, a bag of Gardetto’s … you just hope to get out of there germ-free, y’know?
Well, luckily for Travelers nationwide Thrillist came to the rescue this week with its latest listicle, “America’s 13 Best Restaurants … in Gas Stations.”
I’m sure they are all amazing — they look it! — but of their list of the best gas station restaurants in America, I can personally vouch for two of them: Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s) and the Czech Stop in West, Texas.
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (located in KC, MO, of course) is the best BBQ I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. Thrillist recommends the Z-Man sandwich, which I did not try, but I can say that the ribs, brisket, smoked chicken gumbo, and spicy slaw are all winners. And, judging from the long line that spills forth from the front door most days, most hours, I’d say you probably can’t go wrong with whatever you choose here. Speaking of that line, you may want to shoot for an off-hour to avoid it, if possible. We visited one day about 3 p.m. and the line was a comparable breeze to what it is at peak meal times.
The Czech Stop of West, Texas was like an oasis in the distance when we first saw it. Bound for Austin via I-35, the promise of kolaches, rolls, sausages and other savory and sweet baked goods glimmered in the distance. Thrillist recommends the hot chubbies with cheese. What a fun name for sausages, right? While I did not try the chubs & cheese, I did fall truly, madly, deeply in love with the jalapeno cheddar biscuits. Seriously. We had to stop for another batch on our way back through, and, I think I left a little piece of my heart on the side of the road in West, Texas that day.
The rest of the list includes everything from Korean to Mediterranean to Spanish to good ol’ American dishes. The other 11 best gas station restaurants in America, according to Thrillist are:
• Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, California — recommended eats: Fried whitefish tacos
• Wolf Creek 76 Grill Deli & Fuel in Wolf Creek, Oregon — recommended eats: Buffalo bacon cheeseburger and chicken gizzards
• Cookin’ From Scratch in Doolittle, Missouri — recommended eats: King of the Road burger
• The Market at Bellair in Charlottesville, Virginia — recommended eats: The Batesville with Cajun roast beef and smoked Gouda
• Pig Trail Bypass Country Café in Crosses, Arkansas — recommended eats: The Hooshburger
• Chef Point Café in Watauga, Texas — recommended eats: Bacon wrapped beef medallions or lobster mac & cheese
• El Carajo in Miami, Florida — recommended eats: The table de carne which includes ribs, churrasco, sausage, pork loin, and other meats
• Seoul Food in Silver Spring, Maryland — recommended eats: Bulgogi hoagie w/ apple slaw and spicy pork
• Fuel City in Dallas, Texas — recommended eats: Chorizo and egg tacos
• Café Kebob in Berkley, Michigan — recommended eats: Beef shawarma
• Fast Gourmet in Washington, D.C. — recommended eats: The Chevito
Click here to read Thrillist’s full take on the best gas station restaurants in America, and as you make your way to your next assignment or veer from your location on your next amazing road trip, may one of them be on your path!