Fine Dining at a Gas Station? 7 Sketchy Places You Can Feast on Legit Gourmet Food

Fine Dining at a Gas Station? 7 Sketchy Places You Can Feast on Legit Gourmet Food

Running errands can be far more delicious than you ever imagined.

By Sara Gauchat
Digital Series
Lance Bass and Graham Elliot Track Down a Crafty Crab Dealer at a Car Wash

Put down the corn nuts and step away from the Twinkies. Refueling your car or doing laundry doesn't have to mean stocking up on depressing pre-packaged eats. Here are seven car washes, gas stations, and laundromats across the country where you can dine like a king or queen (or at least a discerning foodie). In fact, they're dining destinations in their own right—so feel free to leave your dirty laundry and car at home. After all, that's what Uber is for.

1. Chef Point in Watauga, TX

Think your best grub options when filling up your gas tank are of the Funyuns-and-Gatorade variety? Not so in Watauga, TX, where the hungry and the running-on-fumes alike flock to Chef Point, a fine dining restaurant plopped inside a gas station. Lobster bisque and cognac-spiked bread pudding certainly pair nicely with a full tank.

2. Underwest Donuts in NYC

Staring aimlessly at cars gliding through the rinse stage has gotten a helluva lot tastier—at least at the Westside Highway Car Wash in the heart of Manhattan, where Underwest Donuts has set up shop. You can score an artisanal donut (think coco raspberry, brown butter, and halva, to name drop just a few) while your ride gets a full shine. And just in case that alone isn’t novel enough for you, the sweet treats just happen to be prepped by an actual Donut Robot. (Yep, these are magical times, people…)

3. Brain Wash Cafe and Laundromat in San Francisco

BrainWash Cafe -- coffee shop, cafe, laundromat and pinball arcade. Love this place. #sanfrancisco #bayarea #brainwashcafe

A post shared by Kevin "Hey Kevin!" Silva (@kevingetsrad) on

Why let your clothes have all the fun when you’re doing laundry? (That spin cycle has to feel like quite the party.) In San Francisco, folks are lugging their hampers over to Brain Wash Cafe and Laundromat, where they can grab some French toast or a tofu salad while their wardrobes get squeaky clean. Those who are giving their clothes an extra rinse cycle might even have time to jump onstage during an open-mic comedy night. And if you accidentally shrink your favorite sweater beyond recognition? Well, they’ve got beer, wine, and a daily happy hour to wash all your troubles away.

4. Czech Stop in West, TX

Kolaches are the name of the game in West, TX, and no other bakery inside a gas station inspires the rabid devotion of the Czech Stop. Roadtrippers line up to snag bags of the sweet and savory pastries, stuffed with everything from strawberries and cream cheese to sausage and jalapeños. They make highway hypnosis much, much more tolerable.

5. The Hub Car Wash & Diner in Colorado Springs

Go on a trip back in time while your car goes on a trip down the conveyor of cleanliness at The Hub Car Wash & Diner in Colorado Springs. A ‘50s-style diner (paying homage to the legendary Route 66) accompanies the full-service wash. Honestly, throwing back a club sandwich or cactus burrito sure beats sniffing all the pine-scented car air fresheners to pass the wait.

6. Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, CA

Fish tacos with your fill-up? Umm…that’s always a yes—at least at the Whoa Nellie Deli. Just outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park, this joint tucked into a Mobil station is renowned for its fried whitefish tacos, which are reportedly so good that they might inspire you to bail on that trip to El Capitan just so you can stay for seconds.

7. Twin Creeks Cafe in Forth Worth, TX

If you like living dangerously, consider dining right in the middle of a hotbed of…car salespeople. That’s right, you can enjoy the likes of a steak burger or some blackened tilapia smack-dab in the middle of Frank Kent Honda in Fort Worth at the Twin Creeks Cafe. Presumably everything comes with a side of new-car smell.’s digital series Going Off the Menu takes viewers on an exclusive culinary adventure as host Graham Elliot uncovers the most delicious offerings within Los Angeles’ underground food scene. From a secret supper club serving smuggled cheeses to an eight-course liquid dinner, join Lance Bass, Cheryl Burke, Reza Farahan, and more as they give fans the secrets to unlock these extraordinary food experiences.

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