Tag: gas stations

Chef’s Surprise: Food on the Go

 

The janitor for my VFW post hustled to finish the morning cleaning before dashing off to his second gig, a pizza and wings shop. He proudly announced that a local network affiliate had featured his pizza joint as a “hidden gem” among restaurants located inside gas stations. This prompted memories of food along the road map of memory. I remember hot dogs at Howard Johnson, fresh crusty rolls with cheese and meat in small Bavarian towns, and the Triple T truck stop restaurant in Tucson, Arizona.

Early in life, when my parents took me and then my first sister, on the road, Howard Johnson was known as a safe stop with clean restrooms. My memory is of a special toasted hot dog bun holding a thin hot dog in a paper tray. A quick search online confirms that HoJo had its own bun design, almost like a slice of bread formed into right angles.

Let’s Gas Up at the Gas-a-Teria!

 

Gilmore Gas-a-Teria at night 1948

In 1948, the first self-serve gas station was opened in the United States. The station was in Los Angeles, the car capital of the country, on Beverly Boulevard just past Fairfax Avenue and was operated by Gilmore Oil. Gilmore Oil was a large, local oil and gas company well known in southern California. Gilmore called these self-service stations “Gas-a-Teria’s”. The Gas-a-Teria was a massive station for the time featuring eight islands with three pumps per island. The self-serve gas saved the customer five cents per gallon and the attendants at the station were young women.

Moments of Generosity and Kindness

 

She quickly made her way to our table at Denny’s, pencil and pad in hand, a wide smile and a chipper energy. Can I get you some coffee? And then after getting the hot coffee, are you ready to order? When we weren’t, she said, take your time. And she really meant it. Breakfast was delicious. The waitress’ smile and sweetness throughout our breakfast, and her attentiveness, were the icing on the cake—or on the pancakes.

Then at Walmart, I was stuck in one of those endless lines. Fortunately I didn’t have many items. The man in front of me kept glancing back at me, his cart fairly full. Suddenly he turned around and said, you should go ahead, you don’t have that many items. I said, but I do, they’re just piled in this little section here, pointing to the place where children often sit. No, no you go ahead. It’s okay. So I did. As I was leaving, I looked back to thank him, and realized he’d let another women ahead of him.