Think of the latest craze in food and what comes to mind? Food trucks are a safe bet. The suddenly ubiquitous downtown lunch option has created such a new market that here in D.C. the Park Police have even had to step in. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for food trucks. They’re mobile, diverse and force people to take a break from minesweeper and get some well needed vitamin D. On the other hand, I’ve seen people wait in 20-30 person lines for a slice. It’s almost too much, too trendy even.
Enter the gas station.
Imagine the cheapest looking gas station that you can (or just look above). You know, the one you speed by because its name sounds suspiciously cheap? Well, we have one at 14th and V St. in D.C. that calls itself Lowest Price Gasoline. No vague Eastern European names like Lukoil here. No gimmicks. What you see is what you get.
Unless you step inside that is. Make your way past the rows of taxis taking 10-15 minutes to fill up a tank of gas and then past the remnants of bulletproof glass…and prepare to be shocked. Nine tables, three cooks, one waiter (writing a paper on his laptop at the counter in between serving food) and one large menu. Turns out Lowest Price has some darned good, relatively not-lowest-priced food at Fast Gourmet.
Now I am in no way claiming that I discovered this place; I’ve read about it for a while. I actually walk by it most days coming home from work, but it’s only 5:45 then which is not really dinner time. Finally, about a month ago, I worked late and stopped in for a steak and cheese. While I wouldn’t call it gourmet food (although they do) I would call it damn good. Tonight, I went against all the new UDSA guidelines and ordered the Big Mason BBQ Chicken. Was it tasty? Sure, if you think that grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions and BBQ sauce work well together. (Hint: yes.) Next time I might branch out to the crazier Chivito, with its tenderloin, mozzarella, ham, bacon, olives, hard boiled eggs and escabeche. Might need to skip lunch that day.
Gansie, by the way, went with a Greek salad…at a gas station. And she loved it. Maybe she will write about it in the comments.
Since we’ve saturated the downtown food truck market, how about some more gas station restaurants? I’m all for new and innovative uses of hard-to-find urban space. Gas stations take up tons of space, usually on really valuable street corners that could probably be better utilized in a less car-dependent place like D.C.. This concept is a nice mix: keep the masses full and give the cab drivers a place to do whatever it is they do during their marathon stops for gas.
14th and W Streets NW, Washington, D.C.