Sometimes I like white tablecloths, stellar views and fancy meals. But more often, I’m just looking for really good food and I don’t care where I have to go to find it. There’s usually a correlation between how simple a place looks and how delicious their food is. We’re pretty conditioned to be skeptical, but it turns out that some of the best food in the state can be found in gas stations. These aren’t folks looking to fill big dining rooms – they just want to make great food and get it to the people they know will enjoy and appreciate it. Here are 10 Wisconsin restaurants serving food in gas stations that you’re going to want to check out:
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Chilango Express - Milwaukee
Legitimately some of the best Mexican food in a city with quite a few options. These folks started with a food truck, so moving into a gas station seems a logical next step. Located at 6821 W Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53219.
2. LD's BBQ - East Troy
BBQ is so subjective and folks get very vocal in their opinions on it, but for my money, LD's is the best spot in southeast Wisconsin. It's a little bit of a drive out to East Troy, but so, so worth it. Not only is the food absolutely stellar, but the staff is always super-friendly. Located at 1880 Co Hwy ES, East Troy, WI 53120.
3. Athens Gyros - Wauankee
I'm cheating just a little bit with this one - the food truck is out back, behind a gas station. It definitely fulfills the spirit of finding stellar food in an unexpected spot. These folks are working on getting a brick and mortar spot, but in the meantime, their good truck is serving out delicious gyros, street corn and more. Located at 5430 Willow Rd, Waunakee, WI 53597.
4. Diner West Wis - Appleton
One more for bending the rules - this diner isn't in the gas station, but just steps away. The front just says diner and the clientele definitely migrates over from the gas station. But just look at this burger - can you blame them?! Located at 3011 W Wisconsin Ave, Appleton, WI 54914
8. Pine Cone Restaurant - Johnsons Creek
This stellar restaurant is open 24/7 serving the kind of filling, down home food you don't normally get much when you're on the road. In addition, they have some of the best bakery you'll encounter anywhere. Even when I'm not stopping in for a meal, I make a point to pull in for a giant cookie, eclair or cinnamon roll. Located at 665 Linmar Ln, Johnson Creek, WI 53038.
6. Ed's Pit Stop - Birchwood
Let the smell from the smoker lure you in as you try delicious bbq, stellar sandwiches, handmade waffle cones, smoothies and more. You can literally stock up for the weekend and have your best meal all in one spot. Located at 701 State Road 48, Birchwood, WI 54817.
7. Lake Magnor Restaurant - Clayton
This place really feels like you've found a secret no one else knows about. Whether you're here to share about your latest hunting or fishing catch or just to fill the tank, plan to stay for a meal you totally won't expect. Located at 764 US Hwy 63, Clayton, WI 54004.
8. Hill Top Cafe - Green Bay
When was the last time you heard about a gas station restaurant growing their own herbs and veggies in two different gardens, importing their seafood fresh from the Gulf and partnering with local farms? These folks do all that and more to produce delicious, local food you'll be craving and remembering for a long time to come. Located at 2278 Bay Settlement Rd, Green Bay, WI 54311.
9. Sunny Side Up - Dousman
Breakfast food and Mexican aren't two foods that normally go together in our consciousness, but Sunny Side Up makes it work. Get a giant, filling plate of breakfast food any time of day or look for burritos stuffed full to keep you energized throughout the day. Located at 159 WI-67, Dousman, WI 53118.
10. Pine Cone Restaurant - DeForest
Huge plates of food that feel like you're at grandma's table, great bakery and a friendly staff all make this place somewhere you'll want to stop. Located at 6162 US-51, DeForest, WI 53532.
Where else have you found a hidden gem serving stellar food from a gas station? Let us know in the comments!