Known for its fall foliage, Maple syrup, and great skiing, there’s another little-known resource hidden throughout the hills of Vermont: amazing gas station food.
Forget prepackaged sandwiches and dried-out hot dogs rolling under a heat lamp; these gas stations offer everything from handmade whoopee pies to authentic Indian food, and plenty of sandwiches, maple cream pies, and bowls of homemade soup, besides. A number of them boast an onsite butcher, and many of them are family-owned.
Not only is the food good, most of it is made either onsite or right nearby. When you eat at one of these places, you’re getting a taste of real Vermont flavor and supporting the local economy, all without leaving the highway.
Shell Station and Village Market
Known for their sandwiches, Cambridge Village Market offers gas and groceries along with a wide array of made-to-order deli items. Their meat selection is a standout–with a wide array of meats, and fresh-baked bread made daily. Best sellers include the maple turkey and chicken salad sandwiches, along with their cult-favorite: baked garlic provolone rolls. In fall and winter, they offer a few soups like broccoli cheddar, beef stew, chicken noodle, and more. There’s a single table on the back lawn for fair-weather picnics.
Three Brothers Shell Station, Pizza and Grill
Owned by the Faour family, who emigrated from Palestine in the early 1960s, this gas station serves a solid lineup of premade and made-to-order deli food in the main building, prepared and served by the family matriarch. Wander into the family’s onsite restaurant and you’ll find a full menu including pizza and wings, plus seating for up to 24. Run by the family’s two sons, the restaurant features a constantly rotating list of great beers on tap, from Colorado’s Fat Tire to craft beers from across Vermont like 14th Star, Magic Hat, Switchback, and more. Don’t leave without trying the homemade baklava—made fresh daily from an old family recipe.
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Marty’s First Stop
Also serving as the local grocery store, Marty’s First Stop is best known for their meat selection—a wide array of steak, chicken, fish, and more. Sandwich meat is cut to order on one of two in-house deli slicers, and piled high. House-made pasta and seafood salads are popular, along with as their daily selection of fresh pizzas. Pick up one of the baked goods, sourced from local bakeries and home bakers, and enjoy your meal at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Don’t leave without trying at least one of their homemade soups. There are six types cooked up fresh every day, and they almost always include their famous corn chowder (made with local corn), and some kind of chili.
Riverbend Farm Market and CITGO Station
Sidle up to the hot bar at Riverbend Farm Market and help yourself to hearty, homemade food like macaroni and cheese, sweet basil roasted potatoes, and barbeque ribs. The offerings change daily. They also make their own pizzas, along with sandwiches, burgers, and more; and local bakeries deliver fresh-baked treats every morning. There’s no seating, so after you’ve picked out your food head down the road to Townshend State Park and enjoy the views.