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The New Date Night … Dinner And Gas?

Posted in Food, Nonsense, Wacky News with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2010 by Bob

Recently I have been hearing a few radio commercials that are advertising the selection of food at a gas station. This is nothing new. I have been known to grab the occasional Taquito, Toronado or breakfast sandwich. Gas stations have had refrigerator sections with sandwiches and other odd items for a while. Ever since the mini-mart merged with the gas pump they have had over priced groceries. I am ok with that. In fact I kinda like it sometimes. That is not what is disturbing to me. (ever notice how many things disturb me? Disturbing in itself isn’t it?)

The commercials are for Speedway. They are advertising “fresh” pizza by the slice. Ok, that is fine. The part that bothers me is the “come in for dinner”. I guess I picture more “on the road” types stopping at a gas station for lunch … but not dinner. It also just be my perception. When I hear the commercial I picture a family loading up the car to go to Speedway for dinner. “Come on kids! We going for reheated pizza by the slice! Don’t forget your ups. The drinks are cheaper if we do re-fills than new ones!”

It isn’t just Speedway. In fact, they aren’t even the worst. Our good friends at BP have done a wonderful job of  remodeling most of their stations. The one I occasionally stop at for my afternoon beverage and lottery ticket has what seems to be a full “café” area where you can custom order sandwiches, burgers, etc. Mind you, this isn’t a rouge Subway or other fast food franchise that has embedded themselves. This is actually the gas station’s operation. I have to admit that I don’t know EXACTLY what they serve since I have never actually eaten there.

Um ... Not sure I would eat Sushi here.

More and more of the places we fuel our cars and fuel ourselves (I think I just actually stole that from some gas station’s mantra) are combining. Even grocery stores are selling gas now. Although, I know Meijer has done that for years, we didn’t have Meijer’s by us until relatively recently. (10-15 years or so maybe?)

I really don’t know why I am bothered by this trend as I admittedly am quite the connoisseur of gas station gastronomy (what a great show to take on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!). Regrettably, I can tell you who maintains their roller grills the best, who has the best selection of fountain drinks, where the clerks are the slowest at ringing you up and even who has the most annoying door chime when you walk in. I think the part that tweaks my melon a little is that they are advertising as if they are “finer dining”, that they can compete with the fast food chains. Not sure about that. Sometimes the food is a step below fast food and sometimes it is a step above. I can go into full out reviews at a later date if there is enough interest.

I am afraid the future will be … (cue wavy future traveling view)

“Good afternoon sir … welcome to Petrol on the Green. Do you have a reservation? Ah good, right this way. Would you like to start with a tank of unleaded? We have a special on premium today. Please enjoy a Pop-Tart and Mt. Dew while we fill up your car.”

Wait a second. That actually sounds pretty good. Almost harkening back to the days of full service stations. I might actually dig this idea! Of course they would have to carry more than just Pop-Tarts and would have to have ALL the Mt. Dew flavors but still. I just may have to start a campaign to further this concept instead of bashing it. The increased revenue from dining would also help the gas station owners.

I know there actually are a few places like this that exist already. I am reminded of the old fashioned truck stop. Food and gas go together like … food and gas. The concept just needs to be fancified. (some truck stops may be fancy, just haven’t visited many) Don’t need to go as far as tuxedos or hosting wedding receptions, but servers and tablecloths. I am pretty sure that I would be happy dining at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Filling Station. Of course, now that I have written this down … someone will steal my idea and make millions off of it. At least I am helping the economy.

Well kids, I am out of gas myself on this one. I really might consider a review of the best gas station foods. It could open up a whole new blog and then … when Food Network Calls … I will be ready!

Until next time, remember … “The gas station in Carbondale did not have fresh yams.”

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