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Repurposing Gas Stations As Restaurants

November 21, 2014 Featured, Planning & Design, Retail, South City, Travel 4 Comments

The other day, while waiting at a red light, I noticed a business had opened in an old filling station at Eichelberger & S. Kingshighway. The ice cream shop is called The Filling Station.

The Filling Station opened in 2013, click image to see entry on Yelp.
The Filling Station opened in 2013, click image to see entry on Yelp.

I haven’t patronized the business so I can’t speak to the food or service. However, I can say I love the building and its use as a restaurant. Before the light turned green I was thinking about the lunch my husband and I had in Kansas City, at a place I thought was a former gas station.

Joe's Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe's, is among the most popular BBQ restaurants in Kansas City.
Joe’s Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe’s, is among the most popular BBQ restaurants in Kansas City, thankfully we arrived before the line was out the door.
Inside the former service bays
Inside the former service bays
It was after we ate that I realized this was still a functional gas station!
It was after we ate that I realized this was still a functional gas station!

A hugely popular restaurant operating out of a current gas station? Here’s part of their story:

Later that year [1996], experience and commitment intersected with opportunity and serendipity at the corner of 47th Avenue and Mission Road in Kansas City, Kansas, where the owner of a little neighborhood gas station and convenience store, not far from the Stehneys’ house, closed the little fried chicken counter he had been operating inside the store. “It seemed like a pretty good place for a barbecue joint,” Jeff says. “Inside a gas station. Plus there was a liquor store next door, in the same building, which was kind of cool. But the main thing was that it was close to home. I knew we’d be putting in some long hours, and being close to home would be a really good thing. We put together a proposal, made an offer, and all of a sudden we were not only in the barbecue business, but also in the gas station business.” (Joe’s KC)

As a vegetarian I don’t visit BBQ places, but I’d read about their portobello sandwich: The Portobello Z-Man Sandwich $7.39 (smoked portobella, smoked provolone cheese, topped with two crispy onion rings, on a toasted Kaiser roll).

The operating gas station in KC doesn’t have the architectural charm of the older & smaller building in south St. Louis, but the idea is great. What a great way for someone wanting to get into the restaurant business — opening up inside an existing gas station. I’m curious how many gas stations we have in the region that have lunch counters inside. If you’ve got a great product, you could do well.

Have a great weekend, see you at 8am Sunday for a one day poll (8am-8pm).

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. rusty says:

    How could you not mention olio in mcree town? Such a great repurposed gas station and a much more urban environment than far south kingshighway. The guy who owns olio also has that new fried chucken place across the street, looks like it could also be in an old service station. The Hill also boasts at least one,service station conversion, maybe two. It should be noted that this filling station is different from the filling station bar in Benton Park, not exactly a family friendly place, but it is in a much better preserved urban environment than so. K’hiway. #St louis (city, thats what I mean when I say st louis) arterials suck (except grand in a few places).

  2. Yep, I do believe Olio and Old Standard (the fired chicken place he mentions) are both old gas stations, and amazing rebuilds. I also think there’s a lot near Shaw and Klemm that was an old station being rehabbed too.

  3. Xyz says:

    Look up Leonardo’s on the hill. It was a gas satin and is now a little pizza place


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