Gas Station Sushi: 8 Fine Foods in Funky Places

Categories: Local Spotlight

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Gas station sushi from Natto: better than you expected, huh?
I read yesterday's Bon Appetit article on "Undercover Grub: Great Food in Surprising Places" with interest, hoping to catch a glimpse of a Houston restaurant in amongst the soda fountains and airport terminals.

I was disappointed to find, however, that of the eight restaurants listed, most were in places where you'd generally expect to find food (see previous sentence, re: soda fountains and airport terminals). And, of course, there were no Houston entries.

Which is a shame, really, because Houston almost specializes in wonderful food from weird and wacky places. I've rounded up eight of my own favorites below, in no particular order.

8. Sushi at a gas station

I've gotten a lot of grief over the years for eating at Natto, the Japanese/Chinese restaurant housed inside a lonely-looking Mobil gas station at Jefferson and Hamilton. But the dumplings are great, and the sushi is better than the stuff you'd pick up at a grocery store on the run -- it's freshly cut and rolled to order, although the dubious provenance of the fish undoubtedly turns many people off. I keep coming back, though, because the sushi -- while not ideal -- is cheap and tasty, and it's always served with a genuine smile.


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Photo by Troy Fields
A gyro with falafel combines Al's best foodstuffs in one neat package.

7. Gyros at a convenience store

Al's Quick Stop is more or less a Montrose landmark by now. Everyone knows to head there -- not Niko Niko's, just up the street -- when you want a gyro, especially late at night. The convenience store is also conveniently located right next door to Rudyard's, meaning you can enjoy some inexpensive yet tasty falafel and a hookah before beering it up over live music later that night.


Location Info

Al's Quick Stop

2002 Waugh, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Karanchos

620 Sheldon, Channelview, TX

Category: Restaurant

Facundo Cafe

3103 Ella, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Alfa Capri

10816 W. Bellfort, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

MMMM I now have a goal. That Damn Gyro looks like it was sent from above. Must get there soon.TA

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

What, no Chester Fried chicken, or Buc-ee's Hippo breakfast taco on this list?  Kidding, seriously, and I don't remember the name, their is a gas station on Beltway South and S. Gessner that has a cajun place attached to it that makes pretty good cajun food.  Came across it while going to the DPS building on S. Gessner a while back.

Roy Schneider
Roy Schneider

Love this article Katharine!!! So many cool places to try.

Kyle
Kyle

Last I heard, the Oaxacan tamales have been retired.

Good list. Though it's not food, D&Q deserves an honorable mention for the stunning craft beer selection in a premise masquerading as a convenience store.

Sue
Sue

ooh, interesting new places to try.  I'm a big fan of Ekko's greek deli inside the gas station on Richmond and Sage. 

Matt
Matt

Yes! D&Q! amazing  how that place carries a larger craft beer selection that specs.... Im thankful for that place

Corey
Corey

Al's on Waugh is way way better.. Why spend $10 at Nikos or more at La Fendee for a gyro that isn't half as good, and only $4.50 at Al's.. Plus their beer selection is quite good.

Jenny Wang
Jenny Wang

Yup, the meat market is still there but those glorious tamales are not. It would be amazing if you could track down the person who made them.

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