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Apr 17, 2009 02:52 PM

Saxapahaw General Store (between Triangle and Triad NC)

[I should note for the moderators at this point that I am in no way affiliated with the store or its ownership, just a customer who loves the food and the concept.]

A bit of backstory: When we moved from Chapel Hill to rural Alamance county (, we were seriously worried about the food situation out here. The only place closer than a 15 minute drive was a old gas station grill that mostly re-heated frozen, industrial foods (on the plus side, our closest resto was Fiesta Grill). Lucky for us, the property owners sold the gas station last summer and everything began to change. It started with good (Counter Culture) coffee and a decent beer selection. Now they're serving duck fat fries at lunch and doing the occasional tasting menu.

It turns out the new owners are trained chefs and dedicated foodies. We've been eating their food since the change in ownership since we live within walking distance but I haven't gotten around to posting much about it here. As odd as it may seem, a gas station in rural Alamance County is serving some insanely good, high end chow.

At lunch they have very nice sandwiches (including a phenomenal goat burger). Weeknights they have a special or two for dinner and they put out a big (and growing) menu on the weekends.

In addition to prepared foods, they sell local produce and dairy, wine and beer, Cane Creek/Braeburn farms meats, a decent selection of cheeses (local and imported), and, since it's still a gas station, motor oil.

Obviously, I'm a huge fan of the food but I also love the concept (that quality, local, and sustainable foods deserve a wide audience and can supplant the crap that people eat because crap is convenient and available). I guarantee it is the best you will ever eat in a gas station.

I read tonight's menu to my wife and she thought I was looking at something from Piedmont or Magnolia Grill. To give y'all an idea of what they're up to:
Braeburn Farms Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Saute of Spinach.
Duck confit with Sweet Potato and Apple Hash
Cane Creek Pork Belly with Seafood Gumbo Gravy over Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts
Eggplant Provencal with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus (vegetarian
)Mussels with Grilled Baguette
Sea Scallops with Fried Local Green Tomatoes and Asparagus
Halibut with Sweet Potato and Apple Hash and Saute of Spinach
Blue Cheese Burger with local beef and Applewood Smoked Bacon
Pan-seared Salmon on Croissant with capers and lemon-garlic aioli
Quiche with saute of artichoke and three cheeses (vegetarian)
Beef Minestrone
Seafood Gumbo (this is full of scallops, shrimp, tasso ham, andouille sausage, applewood bacon, and poblano peppers)"

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  1. Did they replace the Shell Station?

    5 Replies
    1. re: blewgo

      They ARE the Shell station. I should have mentioned that. They still sell gas too.

      1. re: brokegradstudent

        Last time I was there, several years ago, I tried to buy an Apple Ugly but the lady at the register wouldn't sell it to me. She said that there was no telling how long it had been on the shelf. I hope the new owners make a go of it.

        There is another pretty good place to eat out that way. It's in Snow Camp where Old Greensboro Road makes the 90 degree turn. I think it's called Yesterdays Grill. They are open from 6am until around 8pm m-f.

        1. re: blewgo

          Good luck finding an Apple Ugly now. :) The new owners have better taste in food. Now if you'd like a half-gallon of local milk, some local cheese, or local meat, then they have your hookup.

          1. re: davoice

            Are Apple Uglies still being made? I haven't seen one in years.

            I'm looking forward to trying the new Shell station.

          2. re: blewgo

            Oh ps... you can get a freshly baked butter croissant instead. Mmm. I live around the corner from the store.

      2. Weird fact: in Charlottesville, VA there are quite a few gas stations serving food, some of them really very good. Glad to hear you've found something so good. If we're ever near there this info will come in very handy.

        1. Hey! So, on the Saxapahaw General Store Facebook page, and their Blogspot page, there is no contact info <no phone; no email address>.... does anyone what the hours and menu are for this coming Saturday? Do they take reservations? I gather there is wine there - do they have an ABC permit? Many thanks!

          10 Replies
          1. re: Tehama

            All off the top of my head:

            Saturday hours:
            breakfast after 7a to about 10ish
            brunch 10-2
            sandwiches 11-5ish
            dinner 6ish to, maybe 9?

            No reservations (I don't think).

            They have wine & beer for sale on site. I'm not sure if they do wine by the glass, I don't think so. They don't have liquor.

            I deleted the e-mail with this weekend's menu. I remember short ribs and the great pumpkin bisque they had a few weeks ago.

            1. re: brokegradstudent

              thanks a million! I think my friends and I are going to give it a try on Saturday. So weird they don't have their contact info on their blogspot and facebook fan page.... ANYWAY - thank *you*!

              1. re: Tehama

                Tehama, here's some info in a different post that may help;

            2. re: Tehama

              I found the menu for this weekend:
              "Meantime, Jeff and fellows have been preparing supper, which features the following this weekend:

              -Scallop Salad with local mixed greens, blue cheese and local figs vinaigrette
              -Wild striped bass over creamy succotash and roasted local broccoli
              -Pan-seared sea scallops over leek risotto and asparagus
              -Grouper on croissant with lemon garlic aioli, local lettuce, tomato and capers
              -Braised local beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and spinach
              -Local sirloin steak with duck fat fries and saute of spinach
              -Cane Creek Farms pork chop with gravy over mashed potatoes and broccoli
              -Coconut milk braised Cane Creek Farms pork spare ribs over leek risotto with braised local collards
              -Linguine with local meat sauce, garlic baguette, and a side caesar salad with local Romaine
              -Local meatloaf with mashers and broccoli
              -Eggplant Parmesan with mixed greens
              -Vegetable lasagna with mixed greens salad
              -Quarter chicken with home fries and house made local cabbage slaw
              -Ham and bean soup
              -Tomato pumpkin bisque
              -Duck breast on baguette with local roasted fig and local arugula"

              1. re: brokegradstudent

                How did you find out the menu? I just called for brunch on Sat. but the specials don't run til the day of... Which is okay makes for a nice surprise.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  I think BrokeGradStudent had mentioned in an earlier post there was an email listserve.... do you have the email address so I/we can join? I definitely want to go back.... our meal there 2 weeks ago was just completely awesome!

                  1. re: Tehama

                    The e-mails with menus come from

                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                      Is this something you have to constantly request? I've not seen a menu update from them in a week at least.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        I got mine last Thursday. I usually get the Wednesday night or Thursday morning

                        1. re: brokegradstudent

                          Hmmmm alright. I wonder why I never got one.

            3. I feel like I could write several pages about the fine excursion my friend and I had last night to the Saxapahaw General Store.

              (Brokegradstudent: if you're reading this, and feel like it, would you please post their restaurant email address so I can get on their list? I completely forgot to ask about it when I was there last night)

              First of all, I will mention what it wasn't. When I read "general store" in the title, I was expecting a rustic store with a cigar-store Indian, etc etc etc. It isn't a general store in the traditional sense. It is a convenience store at the Shell gas station at 735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw, NC (by the way, my GPS doesn't recognize "Saxapahaw", but google maps will get you there in a jiffy... it is about 25 minutes from Chapel Hill, just inside the Alamance County border). There are maybe like 6 or 7 tables scattered around the perimeters and in the back of the store. You order from the cashier off of a chalk board and the cooking staff finds you in the store and brings you your meal. (By the way, when I asked the cashier what sides came with my meal, she didn't know what I was talking about... perhaps a few growing pains to work through). As far as alcohol goes, you purchase a bottle from their very nice wine selection, or a huge array of beers. But, no wine by the glass; no ABC permit.

              I don't mean any of those as negatives - it just wasn't what I had been expecting. The surrealism of enjoying such a fine meal while nestled between shelves of STP engine treatment and mammoth jugs of diet Sprite was so refreshing. No such thing as a stranger in there. One keeps waiting for some evidence of small-town xenophobia, but there is none. Everyone in town is proud of what is happening there, but the irony appears lost on no one. The selection of goods in the convenience store ranges from afore-alluded to kitty litter and charcoal to a veritable cornucopia of natural and organic foods and health/beauty aids.

              My friend ordered the veal osso bucco and I had the braised short ribs. The collards that came with mine were so good, I could have cried. Jeff, the chef, tried to explain how he prepared them, but I didn't quite follow. They were beyond amazing. And then the reduction sauce (not gravy, because there was no flour in the juice) that was on the mashed potatoes was positively intoxicating with indescribable flavor. The braised short ribs were probably a B+... they were a tiny bit overcooked (or maybe had dried out a bit), but had an enticing favor just the same. We bought a bottle of Castle Rock Petite Sirah to go with our meats... next trip we will order one of the seafood dishes and select a white.

              The entire staff took time to come and check on us, and one table of the local diners could not have been friendlier. I cannot say enough good things about the positive and merry and savory and scrumptious trip it was.

              I can't wait to go back!

              (336) 376-5332 is the store number

              4 Replies
              1. re: Tehama

                OK - just to get this straight - you can buy beer or a whole bottle of wine there, and you can open and drink it there, but they can't sell you a single glass of wine due to lack of ABC permit?

                Alcohol laws are so bizarre ...

                  1. re: beebs

                    Sandwiches are usually $6-8
                    Dinner entrees are $12-18 but there are usually 1 or 2 cheaper options

                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                      Great -- thanks. Will have to trek out there soon!

                  1. re: cervisiam

                    My favorite quote from the article:

                    . "You can get almond butter without running into Chapel Hill." He points to his purchases adding, "They still got enough of this redneck stuff to keep everybody happy."

                    Love it!

                    1. re: cervisiam

                      Just saw this too. You can make your own almond butter if you ahve a food processor adn that would keep you out of Chapel Hill too.. It is a funny comment though.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        Was actually going to do brunch there today, but had an abrupt change of plans :-(