RICHMOND, KY. — Buc-ee’s is a filling station phenomenon, with travelers driving miles out of their way to visit it on their southern trips.
Now, Buc-ee’s is coming to Ohio, planning to open its first store in the Dayton area next year.
So, we drove two hours to Richmond, Kentucky to see one in action, and see what all the fuss is about.
What you will find when you step inside
The first thing you notice when you pull into Buc-ee’s is that it’s big, as in football field-size big.
“Welcome to Buc-ees!” the checkout clerks yell to everyone walking in.
This is no standard highway gas station. It’s not even comparable to a Love’s or Pilot truck stops.
It’s a travel center on steroids.
Dawn Knight and her daughter are regulars, visiting as many as they can.
“We stop every time we go back and forth to Florida,” Knight said. “We’ve been to Daytona, the one here, two in Tennessee.”
If you’ve never been to a Buc-ee’s, think of it as a giant travel center combined with a clothing and provisions store, a southern restaurant and a toy store; essentially a theme park on the highway.
You won’t find day-old hot dogs on a roller here. Travelers line up waiting for the moment when there’s fresh “brisket on the board.”
“Chopped brisket on the board!” the cook yells out to the entire store every 10 minutes or so.
“Yay! Brisket on the board,” other employees respond.
It’s designed to lure customers to the giant cooking center in the middle of the store, and it works.
“Their brisket sandwiches are amazing,” one customer told us after grabbing two of them.
Not a brisket fan? Not a problem.
There’s also pulled pork, sausage on a stick, beef jerky, pre-made sandwiches and salads, and all sorts of fresh desserts, including bread pudding and homemade fudge.
People “go nuts” over their roasted pecans and cashews, and big bags of “Beaver Nuggets” crunchy popcorn bites.
Clean restrooms, cheap gasoline
Elizabeth Bursey and her daughter Kaylea were visiting for the first time from Michigan. They were impressed by the restrooms, known for being among the cleanest on the highway.
“I love how the restrooms are clean, and private and secure,” Kalyea Bursey said.
Outside, you’ll find more than 100 gas pumps, with low gas prices.
Regular was $3.18 the day we visited, 30 cents lower than surrounding stations, making gas a “loss leader” to get people inside the store to shop and eat.
There are some downsides, however, such as:
- Big crowds on a busy summer day.
- No indoor seating. You have to eat your brisket or pulled pork sandwich outside, or most commonly, in your car.
- Many truckers don’t like Buc-ee’s because 18-wheelers are not allowed. It is not a truck stop.
But to many families, it’s “amazing. 10 out of 10. Five stars,” the Burseys said.
Right now, you need to drive at least 2 hours south of Cincinnati to the nearest Buc-cee’s in Kentucky.
But its first Ohio location will open in another year or so in Huber Heights — just north of Dayton near the intersection of I-75 and I-70, two of the biggest highways in America.
Buc-ee’s is something you never knew you needed, but when you see it coming up off the next exit, you’ll know you just have to stop.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)