12 Unexpected Gas Station Eats In Texas

While Texas may only be the second-largest state in the union, it's still sizable enough that you'll probably need to fuel up a time or two when passing through. As per Lazy Trips, it could take at least 12 hours to drive from the east side of the state to the west (or vice-versa) along the I-10, and that's not counting necessary pitstops. The good news for road-weary travelers is that Texas has elevated gas station cuisine to what (in some cases) practically amounts to fine dining.

In Texas, gas station chains like Buc-ees have earned a cult following, not for the fuel (which is pretty much the same all over, apart from the price tag), but for the wide variety of tasty foods offered. In fact, Buc-ees, Allsup's, Stripes, and similar chains have achieved a similar status to that of Ikea or Costco — a destination you may visit just to get a bite to eat, whether or not you're in need of an assemble-it-yourself bookcase, 5-gallon tub of mayonnaise, or tank full of gas. These big chains aren't the only ones offering good gas station grub in the Lone Star State, though, as a number of mom-and-pop eateries and even one fairly upscale restaurant are co-sharing the space with a service station. In the mood to multi-task? At the following eateries, you can fill your gas tank and your belly, the latter with treats ranging from Texas-style barbecue to Czechoslovakian stuffed pastries to duck a l'orange.

Brisket sandwich from Buc-ees (multiple locations)

If there's one food that's synonymous with Texas... no, scratch that, the state's too big to be summed up in a single food. Making the top five list, for sure, however, would have to be beef brisket, a dish that owes its popularity to the Eastern European immigrants who settled in the state in the late 19th century. Fast forward to the mid-20th century, when some culinary genius got the idea of smoking the stuff, and thus was a true Texas classic born. While the dish is ubiquitous throughout the state, one place you can be guaranteed of getting a great brisket sandwich is another Texas icon, Buc-ees.

Buc-ees brisket is one of its top-selling items. It's smoked low and slow in true Texas style for 12 to 14 hours, which is a far cry from the sad microwavable ones you see at some other (non-Texan) gas stations. When it comes to seasonings, Buc-ees keeps it simple with salt and pepper. As Buc-ees Operations District Manager Michael Bui told CBS 42, "We let the meat speak for itself." Well, the meat has spoken, and it says "I'm delicious! You know you want me, so come and get me."

Fresh-Fried Chimichangas from Allsup's (multiple locations)

While Allsup's first location was in Roswell, New Mexico (of UFO incident fame), it today is headquartered in Fort Worth and has multiple locations throughout Texas as well as New Mexico and a handful of other Western and Midwestern states. Allsup's menu, as pictured in Texas Tech's Daily Toreador, has breakfast sandwiches, burgers, and things on sticks (sausages and corn dogs) as well as the super healthy-sounding deep-fried pizza, but it is best known for what the website calls the "world-famous Allsup's burrito." Specifically, that same burrito in deep-fried form, as the chimichangas (via KOAT) have been named as one of the nation's best gas station goodies.

So what goes into one of these craveable chimichangas? One Redditor no longer living in Allsup's territory inquired of fellow fuel stop food aficionados how they might duplicate this deep-fried delight and received the following answer, "They're literally just microwaveable chimichangas that are deep-fried for 7 minutes." Another concurred, suggesting that any cheap brand of grocery store beef and bean burritos would work, although they noted, "It doesn't have that special flavor of a thousand burritos being fried in the same grease" as well as lacking "that delicious semi-clear awful taco sauce that makes the whole thing complete." As it just so happens, though, Allsup's sells that very same taco sauce on the website, although the stuff doesn't come cheap (much less free, like those packets you pick up in-store).

Jalapeno Sausage from Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q (multiple locations)

Rudy's Real Texas Bar-B-Q is a name that's often tossed around whenever the subject of Texas gas station barbecue comes up, as the chain did, in fact, get its start as a gas station that started selling barbecue back in the '80s. While many current Rudy's locations no longer feature gas pumps, Google Maps shows that the original one in Leon Springs is adjacent to a Valero station, while the restaurant located at 2451 South Capital of Texas Highway in Austin shares its lot with a Shell station.

Rudy's is justifiably famed for its brisket, which has been acclaimed as one of the nation's best gas station entrees, but after filling up on Buc-ee's version on our virtual cross-Texas trip, we're ready to explore the rest of the menu. In addition to brisket, Rudy's also smokes prime rib, pork chops, ribs, chicken, turkey, and sausages, but our pick of the litter is the jalapeño sausage. Tripadvisor reviewers describe it as "great," "excellent," "fabulous," "incredible," and "a must," with one enthusing "the hottie sausage link is delicious." Another notes that it needs no sauce whatsoever, something they say "speaks highly of the cooking and the seasoning."

Kerala Meal at Kerala Kitchen in Carrolton

Barbecue is a Texas thing, and chimichangas are Tex-Mex at its finest (even if they're originally from Arizona), so it's no surprise to see these on the menu, even at a gas station. Indian food, however, comes as a bit more of a surprise, although Texas Almanac notes that the Lone Star state ranks fourth among U.S. states where the Asian Indian diaspora has chosen to settle. Luckily for Carrolton, Texas, though, the Kerala (Southwestern India, via Britannica) community is sufficient to merit a top-notch restaurant in Kerala Kitchen.

Kerala Kitchen earns its spot on this list by virtue of two things. First of all, it does share its space with Texaco, as per Google Maps. Secondly, and even more important, is the excellent food it offers. The menu features well-known dishes like chicken biryani and tikka masala, as well as less familiar ones to non-Indian folks like the fermented rice pancakes known as appam which are served here with chicken, beef, or vegetable curry. The standout item, however, is the Kerala Meal, a sampler of the region's cuisine that includes aviyal, chammanthi, moru, pachadi, pappadam, payasam, and thoran with rose matta rice. Non-vegetarians can also opt to add on dry-roasted beef or chicken, fried butterfish, or kingfish curry. Yelpers give Kerala Kitchen 4 stars, praising its authentic food, generous portions, and low prices, with one reviewer advising "Definitely get the Kerala meal" and another calling it "Really tasty!"

Klobasnikys from Hruska's in Ellinger

When is a kolache not a kolache? (What is a kolache? For more on this unique pastry, see below, since we're going in alphabetical order here.) While some insist that kolaches can be both sweet and savory and come in both round and long shapes, Texas Hill Country explains that the non-sweet, elongated versions are more properly called klobasniky, instead. Klobasnikys, like kolaches, may have originated in Eastern Europe, but the spicy, jalapeño-enhanced versions served up at bakeries (and gas stations) throughout the Lonestar State may well be the world's only example of Tex-Mex Czech cuisine.

Hruska's is a versatile establishment that combines a general store and a gas station with a restaurant renowned for its burgers, but it's also a Czech bakery where one of the specialties is the klobasnikys, or, as it explains them, pigs-in-a-blanket. Hruska's menu offers quite a variety of these, with three made from locally-sourced beef and pork link sausage and five made from spicy pork pan sausage made in-house. The link sausage add-ons include cheese and jalapeños, while pan sausage comes in these varieties as well as cabbage and sauerkraut. Ham and cheese klobasnikys (with or without jalapeños) are also available, as is one meat-free one made with mushrooms, spinach, and feta cheese. Hruska's has a 4.5-star rating on Yelp with reviewers describing the klobasnikys in particular as "tasty," "highly recommended," "outstanding," and "the best."

Kolaches from Czech Stop in West

Kolaches, which, as we've already established as round, sweet pastries, are yet another Tex-Czech classic. There's no shortage of Texas bakeries (and, again, gas stations)  that carry them and, since there's no such thing as a bad kolache, you really can't go wrong no matter where you find them. If you're willing to travel a bit to seek out the absolute best kolaches, however, you should Czech out (sorry!) the ones from Czech Stop in West. No, we're not trying to be vague about the location. The name of this Texas town is literally West, Texas although it's actually located in the central part of the state (north of Waco, south of Dallas).

Assuming your GPS doesn't go into a tizzy at the semantic dilemma posed by the address, which can be found off Exit 353 on I-35, you can always gas up when you get to Czech Stop as there's a Shell Station with half a dozen pumps. There's a convenience store, too, but the real attraction is the bakery, particularly the kolaches. These come in various types of fruit fillings such as lemon, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, and apricot, with or without cream cheese, and there are also plain cream cheese kolaches and, according to Your Mileage May Vary, Nutella, and poppy seed ones, as well. Trip Advisor reviewers give Czech Stop 4.5 stars, calling it "a must-stop" and saying it has the "Best kolaches in Texas."

Maple Leaf Duck at Chef Point in Watauga

Chef Point is unique even among gas station restaurants. It offers a complete, full-service fine dining experience. So what on earth is a restaurant that offers escargot on the menu crammed into a Conoco station? As co-owner Paula Nwaeze told The New York Times, "The banks wouldn't give us a loan for a restaurant but they would for a gas station" due to the fact that restaurants have a notoriously high failure rate, while fuel stations, not so much. Although the restaurant has been a runaway success since the '00s and the Nwaeze family could probably have dropped the gas station at any time in the past decade, by now it's become quite the marketing gimmick, attracting attention from numerous media sources and famous foodies like Guy Fieri.

Chef Point's menu is an eclectic one, with appetizers ranging from the aforementioned escargot to fried green tomatoes to a bloody Mary garnished with chicken tenders, waffle fries, and grilled shrimp. The joint also offers burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and a selection of comfort foods including fried chicken and chicken and waffles, plus it is probably one of the very few restaurants still featuring freedom fries on the menu in 2022. For the true Chef Point experience, however, you really ought to order the roast duck served in orange sauce. Where else are going to say you dined on duck a l'orange, followed by a chaser of 87-octane gas? Only in Texas.

Momos from Momo Spot in Irving

If you're a fan of potstickers and gyoza, chances are you'll be equally enthused about a similar Nepalese dish called momos. As Nepalese cuisine has yet to expand to every strip mall, however, where are you going to find these delightful dumplings? If you should happen to be traveling along I-30 in Texas, the answer may be to stop for gas in Irving, as there you'll find Momo Spot, a restaurant adjacent to a Chevron station.

While Momo Spot serves up a variety of other Nepalese dishes such as curries, noodles, fried rice, and samosas, the star of the show is the momos, of course. These come in six different varieties, as per the menu: steamed, fried, chilli, jhut, kolhey, and sadheko (we admit we're not entirely sure what goes into these last three, but they look amazing). While D Magazine gets the restaurant's name wrong (it's referred to it as Momo Stop), they're spot-on about the momos, calling them "perfect, frills-free cooking" and "the best meal at a Texaco you may ever have." (Apparently, the gas station has rebranded in the past few years.) Yep, that sounds like a pretty good bet, all right. Yelpers seem to agree with the magazine's assessment as Momo Spot has a 5-star rating on the platform. One person calls the momos "Unique, different and the bomb," while another enthuses "Momos are killer... Can't wait to try it again and again."

Strudel from Rumpy's in Gainesville

Rumpy's is yet another bakery and gas station combo, something that seems to be uniquely Texan. While it does, of course, offer kolaches, the bakery is German rather than Czechoslovakian, so its real specialty is strudel — a dessert that, as it so happens, is Texas' official state pastry as well as being one of Maria Von Trapp's favorite things. As per Texoma Delivery, Rumpy's offers a dizzying array of strudels. There's the traditional apple kind, of course, but it also has apricot, blueberry, cherry, lemon, peach, raspberry, and strawberry, each of these fruit flavors available alone or in combination with cream cheese. Rumpy's also has a plain cream cheese strudel, as well.

Rumpy's Facebook followers rate the bakery 4.4 stars and have high praise for its strudel. One calls it "mouthwatering good" while another raves "I bought Peach Strudel! It was amazing!" On Tripadvisor, Rumpy's rates 4 stars, with one reviewer insisting "The strudel is as good as any in the state" while another says "There [sic] strudel is insanely good."

Tacos of All Types from La Salsa Verde (multiple locations)

Finding tacos at a gas station is no big deal, but what makes La Salsa Verde's tacos stand out is the fact that the fillings go far beyond typical Taco Bell-type fare. La Salsa Verde Taqueria is a small chain with seven different locations, not all of which are affiliated with gas stations, but one of the Plano locations is in close proximity to a Shamrock station, while the Dallas one on Coit Road shares its address with a Chevron. All of the La Salsa Verdes, however, feature the same menu of tacos made with a wide range of meats including cachete (beef cheek), lengua (beef tongue), buche (pork stomach), and chicharron (pork rinds) as well as more familiar food truck favorites such as carnitas, al pastor, chorizos, and fajita meat.

The Coit Road La Salsa Verde has a 4-star Yelp rating, with one reviewer describing it as a "Spanish-speaking authentic taqueria and the best I've visited so far in Dallas" and another urging "don't let the look of a gas station restaurant fool you! It's legit and the food is amazing." The one in Plano also has 4 stars from Yelpers and accolades like "Everything we ordered was delish... So many interesting things on the menu to try" and "Absolutely delicious! Can't wait to go back. I ate nine tacos by myself they were so good."

Tortas from El Taco Rico in Houston

El Taco Rico is a taqueria that shares space with a Houston Exxon station. It apparently keeps gas station-type hours, as well, since the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. all the way up until midnight. (Hours courtesy of Google Maps, as is the Exxon proximity.) The menu offers a wide range of tacos in addition to pork and cheese-stuffed pupusas, quesadillas, burgers, salads, and a very interesting-sounding breakfast of eggs, cheese, beans, and bananas (or possibly plantains, or maybe both).

The one real standout on El Taco Rico's menu, however, is something that's so good that even people who don't need to gas up are willing to pay DoorDash to deliver — the tortas, which are the No. 1 delivery item on that app. The tortas, which have a 100% approval rating even among those who've shelled out hefty delivery fees, are hearty buns stuffed full of fajita meat, al pastor pork, shrimp, or chicken and topped with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, avocados, mayonnaise, and cheese. While El Taco Rico's tortas are delicious on their own, they go great with a Mexican Coke or horchata, two beverages that happen to be the restaurant's second and third-most popular menu items on DoorDash.

Trompo Tacos from Bachman Tacos and Grill in Dallas

Bachman Tacos & Grill is, surprise, yet another gas station taqueria — you know you're a true Texan if gas station tacos are what's for breakfast. The restaurant has been in business since 2008, during which time the neighboring gas station has rebranded from a Chevron, as it was at the time of a 2018 Dallas Observer review, to an Exxon, as per a recent Google Maps check. The restaurant, however, is still in the same family, although it's been so successful that it has spun off a number of other local eateries throughout the Dallas metro area.

At Bachman Tacos and Grill, the menu is not an extensive one, as it offers a small selection of tacos, tortas, burritos, and quesadillas. The taco fillings include a choice of barbacoa, carnitas, chicharron, chicken, steak, and, for the breakfast ones, bacon and chorizo. The real standout, however, is available to fill both the breakfast and lunch/dinner tacos: trompo. This meat, as Texas Monthly explains, is cooked on a spit (also called a trompo) in a similar style to gyros, a method that originated with the same Lebanese immigrants who created tacos al pastor. The trompo tacos at Bachman Tacos & Grill are made of smoky, guajillo-spiced pork and topped with flame-roasted jalapeños and both grilled and raw onions for a dish that Dallas Observer describes as "stupendous."