At one point in time, gas stations were associated with food that was borderline inedible, full of grease, and on the higher end of the calorie spectrum. The convenience end of these roadside stops was viewed as something to be used out of necessity rather than actual convenience, with bathrooms (sometimes) being the only thing worthy of going inside the establishment for. It was a time when pre-packaged sandwiches meant gambling with a stomachache and coffee was like to taste either watered-down or burnt, depending on the time of day.
All of that has changed now, as gas station convenience stores reached an all-time high in popularity as of 2020, according to CNN. The reason behind that is due to the healthier, fresher alternatives that are being offered by many, as well as some featuring full eateries where customers can stop to fill up in more ways than one. Gas stations are considered shabby-chic gourmet now, with some offering meals that people come back time and time again - regardless of their gas tank level - just to eat. For those looking for a quick snack, though, road trips won't feel complete without snacks from these gas stations and their good eats.
Soft Pretzels From Wawa
Wawa wins the title of being the most popular gas station in the U.S. so it's not surprising that it also has some of the best must-have snacks of any around. The soft pretzels, in particular, are well-loved by all who stop at this gas station to fuel up and if it's not the coffee that you need to get you going for the day, then these heft pretzels will certainly do the job.
Their soft, cloud-like inside is the perfect match to a glazed and slightly crunchy exterior, and, somehow, there's always the perfect amount of salt sprinkled over the top. These pretzels have a serious following and it's a rite of passage to drink a Wawa iced tea with it.
Fried Cheez From Sheetz
The natural rival of Wawa is Sheetz and there's no loving both; according to the fans of each, you're either team one or the other. However, if pretzels aren't necessarily enough for you, then the fried mozzarella from Sheetz is likely to make your food-loving heart sing.
While they look like regular mozzarella sticks, there's something about these extraordinarily crunchy cheese sticks that sets them apart from those everywhere else. The fact that you can get them in less than five minutes from a gas station makes them taste even better. Both the texture and the flavors of these Fried Cheez sticks, makes them the perfect roadside snack.
Pizza From Casey's General Store
Good pizza is not usually synonymous with gas stations except in the case of Casey's General Store. The pizza from this dynamic duo of a gas station is so popular that it's even been hailed as one of the best gas station snacks from celebrities like Mila Kunis, who loves the breakfast pizza, specifically.
The pizza, which consists of scrambled eggs mixed with the gas station's special cheese sauce, gets topped with either sausage, bacon, or vegetables. It's well worth a stop and we wouldn't blame you if it becomes your favorite new breakfast place.
Black Raspberry Ice Cream From Stewart's Shops
It's not entirely uncommon to find ice cream at nearly every gas station. Not only are there the typical freezer offerings such as whole pints and Drumsticks, but some gas stations, like Stewart's, go one step further. This gas station has been whipping up its own ice cream for some time now and while it's specific to upstate New York and downstate Vermont, that hasn't stopped anyone who's on a mission to try one of their most famous flavors: Black Raspberry.
According to Mashed, the milk that's used in the ice creams is from local farms which adds a creamy richness to eat pint or half-gallon. The Black Raspberry, in particular, is likely the closest thing you'll get to feeling as though you're eating fresh raspberries right off the bush with a side of ice cream.
Whoopie Pies From Cumberland Farms
The origins of the whoopie pie is still a bit skewed and while there are several places that this unique cake-like cookie could have come from, the answer is still a bit unclear.
The gist, though, is that New England - or some New England state - played a role in its creation which is why the Cumberland Farms whoopie pie has gained such a reputation. Traditionally, this cream-filled cookie is eaten with a cup of hot coffee which is another thing that Cumbys, as it's affectionately known by the locals, is well-known for.