Road trip junk food.
Sunday, my husband and I drove back to Charlotte from our daughter’s university. We had a friend’s son with us; he went down there with us, because he was visiting the university. Soon after we started our trip home, I told my husband we would need to stop for food somewhere along the way, because I hadn’t eaten breakfast.
That’s when we started energetically discussing our favorite gas station food stops. Yep, gas station food stops. Y’all can laugh, but occasionally, I like to sample gas station food.
First, we talked about Buc-ee’s, a chain of travel centers/convenience stores based in Texas. Buc-ee’s has opened locations across the south over the last few years, so we see their cartoon beaver mascot on highway billboards across several states. I have been in a Buc-ee’s once, in Loxley, Alabama, and I was a little overwhelmed, to tell the truth. Maybe it was because it was new, but there were far too many people. In defense of Buc-ee’s, however, they handled the crowd very well. There were lots of gas pumps and all kinds of tshirts, themed souvenirs, and different kinds of food. I have a friend here in Charlotte who swears Grandma GG’s Pepper Jelly sold at Buc-ee’s is his all-time favorite. Apparently, it’s hard to find in their stores, because it’s so good, so when he finds it, he stocks up. Buc-ee’s offers lots of different t-shirts and sweatshirts featuring their beaver logo, but it seems they are best known for their clean restrooms, brisket, jerky, and fudge. Unfortunately, on this trip, the only one we passed was way too busy for me to risk going in. Maybe next time. *For more information about Buc-ee’s, click here.
We then talked about Sheetz and Wawa, both based in Pennsylvania. There are no Wawa stores in North Carolina, but we have quite a few Sheetz stores located north of Charlotte. I’ll get back to Wawa in a minute. Sheetz is a longtime family favorite. My daughter and I love Sheetz and have been known to take a day trip to the one in Troutman, just north of Charlotte. We always laugh that we are road tripping to a gas station for food. We were introduced to Sheetz when a club soccer mom (I’m looking at you, Meredith Walker!) suggested we meet there during a tournament break several years ago. My daughter fell in love with the place. Made-to-order junk food? Yes, please! I love their tater tots and hot dogs, and my daughter loves the popcorn chicken. They also offer great burritos, tacos, and salads, but one of my favorite things to get there are the Sheetz Gobbz, a prepackaged small whoopie pie. Yum. A friend from Pennsylvania (props to you, Sara) made some gobs for me years ago, and an addiction was born. The Sheetz brand item is called Gobbz, and they’re pretty awesome…not as good as the ones Sara makes, but good. I highly recommend you try Sheetz if you find yourself in the vicinity; also, their bathrooms are always clean too. *To see more about Sheetz, click here.
As for Wawa, it’s another popular gas station/convenience store with made-to-order food based in Pennsylvania. The only one I’ve ever visted was in Ocala, Florida. I was visiting a college friend for a few days, and when she stopped to put gas in her car at the Wawa, I suggested we get some food while we were there. I would be lying if I said I remember exactly what I ordered. I know I ordered a cold hoagie, but I don’t remember which one. I do remember that I liked it. We sat outside at a picnic table to enjoy our meals, and I remember feeling like it was a positive experience. I’ll need to try Wawa again. To see more about Wawa, click here.
As I said earlier, we talked about Buc-ee’s but opted not to stop there on this trip. Our friend who was traveling with us extolled the virtues of the food at QuikTrip (QT), an Oklahoma-based chain that we have all over the Carolinas and in lots of other states. I have been in QT many times, but I never noticed that they have made-to-order food! How did I miss that? We decided we would get some food at QT. My husband won’t eat junk food, so while he put gas in the car at a QT, my friend and I walked inside to order. We located the ordering kiosks and started making our selections. I think our friend was a little surprised at the sheer number of items I ordered. Heck, I was experiencing something new, so I said, “Let’s order lots of different things! I want to check them out! We have a long ride; might as well enjoy some junk food!” And order we did. What did we order? We had a Cuban grilled cheese, a sausage biscuit, a brisket taco, brisket mac & cheese, a Buffalo chicken grilled cheese, a chocolate shake, a vanilla shake, an Icee, and a few other random snacks. Oh yes, we did! My personal faves were the Cuban, the brisket taco, and the brisket mac & cheese. Also, I never met a milkshake I didn’t like. We “feasted” on junk food for miles! I even sent my daughter a video showing her how much stuff we had ordered, and she called me, laughing. One thing I can say: QT knows food. Everything we had was delicious! To see more about QT, click here.
We have QTs all over Charlotte, so I called a friend with whom I often lunch and asked her if she knows about the food at QT. She said she does know. I said, “Seriously? We should grab lunch there one day.” Who would ever think the “ladies who lunch” would grab junk food from QT? Well, it will happen. I’m craving that Cuban grilled cheese. Maybe I will introduce her to Sheetz with a quick day trip to Troutman.