When you think of gas station food, what comes to mind? Shriveled up pizza? Day-old hot dogs? A bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos?
We asked our WDIV Insiders what they thought -- and, yes, some were repulsed at the mere suggestion you make a meal out of anything found inside a gas station.
But, many made it clear there are plenty of options out there -- hidden gems, if you will -- that are better than just good, and can make for an inexpensive way to feed the whole family.
We set out to try a few of the options that were most popular among our Insiders. We settled on four that we thought were above average -- here are our findings:
OK, yes, this is not a feed-the-family option, but many people liked some select items for breakfast or a quick snack to get by. Speedway makes its own donuts and has a great selection, accompanied by each flavor’s calorie count. Big green check mark.
A few people liked the Speedway breakfast sandwich, so I gave that a try. I may have gotten one of the last ones from the morning round-up, so keep that in mind as I say: The muffin was a little dry and the ingredients a bit meh.
2. Saroki’s Crispy Chicken & Pizza
Saroki’s is inside the Shell gas station in Romulus, as well as several other locations. They have a crew of four to six people that start making dough and cooking well before they open at 10 a.m. They tout the pizza, stromboli and of course the chicken and biscuits -- and we understand why Insiders recommended them.
“Because it’s not pre-cooked or pre-made,” said Steve Abasso of Saroki’s. “It’s done fresh daily.”
Sterling Harris drives a truck and knows about getting food on the go. “The pizza is really good,” Harris said. “It’s not gas station food.”
I tried the chicken strips with their special sauce and their loaded fries, which are French fries, chicken, special sauce and bacon. The chicken is breaded with a Cajun seasoning and everything hits the mark.
I was bummed about only taking a few bites because we had to save room for the next stop, which was ...
3. Eureka Eatery
The Eureka Eatery is in Monroe inside the Exxon. It honestly looks like a fast food chain tucked away in the corner, but it’s a stand-alone restaurant. It’s known for its chicken sandwiches, so we gladly obliged.
“All you have to do is come here,” said manager Steven Howe. “You didn’t have to wait in line at Popeye’s.”
The Nashville hot chicken sandwich was great. It had a pickle with some cole slaw -- huge winners with me. We also dabbled with the loaded macaroni and cheese and didn’t regret it.
4. Mr. Kabob
Mr. Kabob inside the Sunoco on Coolidge Highway in Berkley isn’t exactly a secret. Anyone who loves good Mediterranean flavor has come across it and gone back a second time.
“Fresh homemade recipes from Mama Gulli, herself,” said Naseem Gulli.
Gulli and his family operate five Mr. Kabobs in Metro Detroit, and they’re all inside gas stations.
“We’re always back there making sure everything is up to our standards,” he said.
By “back there,” Gulli means manning the grill while it’s full of chicken. And it smells incredible.
Gulli set us up with chicken and hummus, as well as some signature salads -- and it all tasted the way it looked: so well seasoned and spiced, like I was sitting at a restaurant in Cairo.
So, maybe some gas stations aren’t ideal for a family meal, but a quick search can unearth some inexpensive dinner options in unlikely places.
Even more options
We received hundreds of responses from our Insiders about their favorite gas station foods, but we weren’t able to vet them all ourselves. If you’re interested in exploring, here are some of the most popular recommendations we received:
- Las Cazuelas, located inside Citgo on Livernois at Michigan Avenue in Detroit. They serve traditional Mexican plates, including breakfast.
- Alex’s Market and Grill, located on White Lake Road near Andersonville Road in Clarkston. They offer a variety of deli meats, prepared foods, snacks, pastries and coffee.
- Taystee’s Burgers, located inside a BP gas station on Ford Road between Miller Road and Wyoming Avenue in Dearborn. Known, obviously, for their burgers.
- Goods Krispy Fish & Chicken, located inside Exxon on Trumbull at West Warren Avenue in Detroit. They’re known for their Krispy Krunchy Chicken.
- Mediterranean Station, located inside a Mobil gas station on South Broadway Street in Lake Orion. Reviewers rave about both their hot and cold options, including their homemade hummus, falafel and salad options.
- Original Buscemi’s, located inside BP on West University Drive at South Rochester Road in Rochester. Buscemi’s locations can be found around Metro Detroit, but this one is inside a gas station!