While refueling your car seems to get more expensive by the day, refueling your body at a local gas station is easy on the wallet and tasty, too.
Here’s the what and where on great Charlottesville gas station food:
Peach and blackberry fillings ooze from under the flaky crust of the daily cobblers at Brown’s gas station in the former Ston-ey’s space on Avon. The potato wedges are coated with a fine veil of secret fried chicken seasoning, and they’ll fry whiting fillets to order.
The collards at the Preston Avenue Shell are southern-tender, porky, and the perfect foil to the extra-creamy mac-n-cheese and mashed potatoes.
The Birdwood sandwich at the area’s “gourmet-to-go” markets at Tiger Fuel—Mill Creek and Bellair—boasts cracked pepper-seasoned smoked turkey, pepper jack, avocado, lettuce, banana peppers and herb mayo on French bread.—Meredith Barnes
Try the fried chicken at the Preston Avenue Shell while you fill up.
Get it while it’s hot
Why did the chicken cross the road? Probably to get to the Preston Avenue Shell station to become what many call our town’s best fried chicken. We’ve heard enough raves about this unlikely fried food mecca that we just had to learn the trick to the crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, finger-licking goodness.
Station owner Wes Jones got his chicken recipe from a secret source (his mouth might have been full of lunch from the station, but his lips were sealed) and has kept it the same for all 11 years that the food counter’s been open. Lindsay Feggans, Jones’ cook (who’s been frying up the breasts, legs, wings and thighs fresh every day for three years), was a bit more forthcoming.
“The secret is using fresh grease and lots of seasoning salt,” shared Feggans. He dips each piece of chicken into an egg wash and then into the seasoned breading before frying them in a big kettle filled with his fresh grease of choice—peanut oil. The chicken is always hot and always cheap (buy three pieces for $4.49), but Monday night’s special of two pieces of chicken with one side (which include down home delights like mac-n-cheese, green beans with bacon, mashed potatoes, potato wedges, and apple cobbler), a biscuit and a 16 ounce drink for $3.99 takes the sting out of fueling up on gas too.—Megan Headley
Gas may no longer be on the menu at Fry’s Spring Station or Zinc, but fueling up on delicious food at these stations-turned-restaurants is still a full-service proposition. At Fry’s Spring Station, enjoy a beer and some fire-roasted pizza at the indoor/outdoor bar that was the service station’s roll-up garage door for the 70 years it was in the biz.
At Zinc, belly up to the central bar or grab a seat on the courtyard patio for a cocktail and some of Executive Chef Justin Hershey’s seasonally-driven, locally-sourced fare, which is far more appealing than pumping gas.