- Buc-ee’s is a convenience-store chain with a cult following across Texas. It recently opened its first location outside of Texas, in Baldwin County, Alabama.
- The chain serves as a supersized highway pit stop complete with “world famous” bathrooms, branded T-shirts, a beef-jerky bar, a wide-ranging home-decor section, and freshly made fudge.
- We visited Texas to see whether Buc-ee’s could live up to the hype – and we were shocked by what we found.
If you’re on a road trip travelling through Texas, Buc-ee’s looms large as a highway oasis – and not just because of the endless signs along the road telling travellers how many miles until the nearest location appears on the horizon.
Much like Pennsylvanians worship at the altar of Wawa, hungry road trippers across the Lone Star State have their prayers answered at the gas-station chain Buc-ee’s.
Need gas? Buc-ee’s apparently has it for cheap. Food? Chefs say their breakfast tacos are some of the best. Clothing? Per sources, Buc-ee’s T-shirts – featuring its iconic beaver mascot – are a trademark of a cool Texas teen.
Despite Texans’ obsession, most of the world has never even heard of Buc-ee’s. The chain, founded in 1982, has about 40 locations. It recently opened its first location outside of Texas, in Baldwin County, Alabama, and has plans to open several stores in Florida.
We visited Buc-ee’s to see whether it lived up to the hype. What we found was like nothing we’d seen before.
We rolled into the Buc-ee’s parking lot well aware of the promise that “everything is bigger in Texas.” But even the state’s self-aggrandizing did not prepare us for what was waiting inside.
Walking into Buc-ee’s was like wandering into a mix of a Walmart, a barbecue-centric deli, and the Texas tourism bureau, plus a dash of the Cracker Barrel general store.
The snack aisles carry the classic road-trip rations, like trail mix, dried fruit, and candy — but on a scale unseen anywhere else in the country.
There’s even a fairly large wine selection, complete with tasting and pairing notes.
Even Zima has a place on Buc-ee’s sprawling shelves. This gas station has the range.
Buc-ee’s cult status in Texas is ripe for merch.
Buc-ee’s-branded food is just the start. The store also has T-shirts, stuffed animals, coolers, and even a Buc-ee’s grill.
And the home-decor selection goes far beyond Buc-ee’s magnets. You want a Texas proverb wall hanging? A cowhide rug? A dozen scented candles? They’re all at Buc-ee’s.
While the food and merch are draws, Buc-ee’s realised what people who have been on the road for hours really want: a high-quality bathroom. And Buc-ee’s has earned its “world famous” moniker — the chain won an award for having the cleanest restrooms in 2012, and we can vouch that the judges weren’t lying. The bathrooms are private, immaculate, and remarkably spacious.
On top of all of this, Buc-ee’s has some of the best worker compensation in the industry. Every location proudly displays signs disclosing employees’ pay and benefits — something the chain uses to attract top talent.
Source: Business Insider
Perhaps the most remarkable thing, however, is the prepared-food selection.
There is not only an entire jerky bar, but a deli, a fudge station, and a hot-food kiosk.
Instead of being limited to stale gummy bears, at Buc-ee’s you can have an employee cut you a fresh block of fudge, handmade on the premises.
The stunning breadth of fudge flavours is a sight for sore eyes. And the fudge is as tasty as it looks: moist, high-quality, sugary goodness.
Buc-ee’s sells hot sandwiches and tacos wrapped in foil that customers can grab to go.
It also features a full-service deli that has everything from sandwiches to burgers to fish.
We paid for our food — more than enough for two hungry reporters’ breakfasts — and headed outside into the sweltering heat to wolf down our haul.
The breakfast tacos were a perfectly packaged amalgamation of cheese, potato, eggs, bacon, and beans. The foil wrapping sealed in the heat, creating a well-melded breakfast begging to be devoured — not a delicacy, but a delight.
The sliced-brisket sandwich is a barbecue classic that you won’t find at many gas stations.
The brisket is tender and smoky, creating the base for a simple yet strong sandwich.
On a more decadent note is the pastrami Reuben, a Buc-ee’s fan favourite. It’s not a natural fit for a road trip, as the overflowing sauerkraut and pastrami make it a two-hand kind of meal.
However, it’s worth the extra attention. The pretzel bun, onion strings, and bacon make for a hearty sandwich that delivers on the promise of a satisfying Reuben.
The handmade chips aren’t your average kettle chip. Despite being unsalted, they draw you in and keep you crunching until the bag is suddenly … empty.
Our appetites satiated, we decided to partake in Buc-ee’s final major draw: cheap gas. The gas pumps were plentiful — we counted at least 40 — and the fuel was at least 10 cents cheaper than at the station down the street.
We hit the road after visiting Buc-ee’s with full stomachs and a full tank of gas. While the road trip continued, Buc-ee’s is no pit stop — it’s a destination in its own right.
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