America’s car culture has always created a need for pit stops to re-fuel.
In the early days of the nation’s highways, drivers pulled off into parking lots of roadside diners or drive-ins with carhops.
Today, gas station gastronomy continues to evolve. Some of these kitschy cafés are tucked into quaintly refurbished filling stations, while others have worked their way into the corners of newer convenience store models.
Perhaps the most famous gas station grub in the city is available at Oklahoma Joe’s original location in a Shamrock station at 47th Avenue and Mission Road, where you can fill ’er up with a tank of gas or a good slab of ribs.
Another well-known road warrior is Pizza 51, at 51st and Oak streets near UMKC, and Pizza 51 West in Fairway. Both locally owned pizza parlors pay homage to their former gas station roots by serving hubcap-sized, thin-crust pizzas in a garage atmosphere.
For more exotic fare, set your GPS for Papu’s Mediterranean Café, a popular Waldo neighborhood pit stop with a menu that includes tasty gyros and a truly stunning shawarma platter.
Next, cruise on over to the Filling Station Bar-B-Q in downtown Lee’s Summit. The former 1930s-era Texaco gas station was restored in the late 1990s. Outside, you’ll see the original pumps; inside, pig out on all the car-related memorabilia while waiting for deep-fried pickles or tasty pulled pork.
Finally, if you don’t really care if you’re eating in a gas station or not, head for Genessee Royale Bistro, a converted space where the shabby-chic decor and well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare do absolutely nothing to remind you of the building’s past life.