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Thunder Struck: Homemade Treats Aplenty at Shawnee’s Thunder Shop

Louis uncovers a surprising culinary treasure trove at Thunder Shop Gas N' Food in Shawnee.

One of my favorite things activities is visiting independent filling stations. Sad, I know, but what is your hobby?

Sometimes, these places are pretty basic, with pre-packaged sandwiches and microwaved pizza at $4.99 a slice. But every now and then, I discover a wonderland of exotic snacks, homemade dishes, and, of course, a large gallery of glass pipes, e-cigarettes, and all the pre-packed porn you can muster.

And that brings me to the Thunder Shop Gas N Food, a very convenient store in the very inconvenient outskirts of Shawnee, 14108 Acme Rd.

While the Mexican snacks, ample smokes, and other vices are already top-notch, I heard through the rural grapevine that the hamburgers are freshly prepared, made to order, and very incredible.

Resolute, I had to find them…

While Thunder Shop has the fried food and bready snacks found at most gas stations offer, here, they offer not only hamburgers, but also plates like the fresh tamales and the always versatile gyros.

Putting in my official order, I casually browsed things over, finding the menu of other eats with tortas, catfish, and, oh my, chicken gizzards.

The place was staffed by a cashier and the solo cook, one keeping a key eye on the register as the other manned the flat-top.

After waiting through the bulbous line of sweaty roughnecks and salty linemen, my items were dished out one by one. The cashier shared a joke as they were bagged.

I took my order back to the farm, and when I arrived, I had a veritable feast of portable foods, starting off with tamales. At $5.99 for three of the fattest, wettest ones they got, this is a pretty good snack, as tamales often are.

While most gas stations use the wax-paper for the tamales, here, it’s corn husks all the way. And though they are a little bit salty for my tastes, wrapped in a plastic bag to maintain the moistness, for a gas station, these are pretty good and pretty compact treats.

I then turned my attention to the Gyro ($4.99). It was definite restaurant quality; the pillowy pita being strangled by fresh onions, tomatoes, and lettuce, with shredded cheese, a little bit of tzatziki sauce and, best of all, the glimmering gyro meat, effetely sliding down my gullet.

The gyro was a total revelation about gas station food and how it should taste, in the grand scheme of things. Caressing my mouth with greasy meat and the little cubes of feta, this was a perfect meal.

Next up was the grand finale – the monstrous Double Cheeseburger ($9.99).

With hand-cut onions, imperfectly sliced tomatoes, fleeting strands of lettuce, with two whopping beef patties covered in cheese and drowned with my preferred condiment, mayonnaise, this was one of the best burgers that you have to try.

The taste was borderline pornographic as the glistening meat came together and the combination of cheese and mayo procreated in my mouth. As the large slice of onion slipped out, I realized I truly loved the burger.

With a simple yet amazing spin on comfort classics, Thunder Shop leads the way to a nouveau era where the best burgers were not in some restaurant in the swanky part of town, but in a rural convenience store with assorted bongs and pan dulce to complete your purchase.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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