Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Second Fuel City convenience store to open in Lufkin
The tacos sold inside Dallas' Fuel City are legendary.
A second Fuel City gas station will open in late December in Lufkin, with three more Fuel Citys in the works in the next four years.
The brand is known lovingly by its location in Dallas, which is a convenience store, taco stand, car wash, and beachside hang out all rolled into one. (There's a pool.)
The Lufkin location, opening before the New Year, is three times the size of Dallas' Fuel City and will be located at the corner of Highway 59 and Highway 69 in Deep East Texas. The plot of land once contained inhabited homes, which Fuel City owner John Benda purchased, razed, and built his new convenience store. He's spent two years on the Lufkin location.
Perhaps the most important part of the new convenience store will be its taco stand; its Dallas counterpart was lauded by Texas Monthly for serving the best tacos in Texas. The Lufkin Fuel City will also have a taco stand, this one four times bigger than Dallas', with a walk-up window and an inside seating area. "I kind of put it on steroids," said Benda. "We will also have a patio; we're going to call it the Panther Patio after the mascot for Lufkin [High School]."
The 12,000 square-foot space will also have a Denny's and bathrooms that are three or four times the size of the bathrooms at the original Fuel City. There won't be a swimming pool or live longhorns at the Lufkin Fuel City, but Benda said he will have metal, ornamental longhorns instead. "They're cousins," he said. It will also have western decor like the Dallas store.
The gas station will take 50 people to run it 365 days a year, plus the Denny's will employ 110 people, Benda said.
So why Lufkin? "I wanted to go into an area that was uncharted," said Benda, who has worked in the travel center business since 1980, owning stores in Downtown Dallas, Oak Cliff, Hutchins, and Dallas proper. He worked with his son Parker Benda and partner Mark Dietz on the Lufkin store.
"People think, 'oh, it's a convenience store,'" said Benda. "But I try to make the experience fun."
The official opening date is January 1, 2013, but Benda plans to have the doors open by December 27.