Southern Domination and Beaver Nuggets.

by Kerry Dougherty

Sick of politics? Me too. Let’s change it up today.

I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty much an expert on roadside food joints and truck stops.

No, not that way, you perverts.

I simply love road trips, which means frequent stops for food and fuel. Most truck stops are sort of meh.

A few are memorable.

Kenley 95 in North Carolina, for instance, where I bought my first Bug-A-Salt rifle. The Nordstrom of truck stops. At least that’s what I thought until my son and I were driving through Iowa a couple of years ago and dropped into Sapp Bros. This Midwestern chain is absolutely spa-like with bidets and heated toilet seats. (Hey, don’t knock it, this was December and we’d been driving through an ice storm in an old SUV without seat heaters. Toasty toilet seats? You have no idea!)

When I’m in Mississippi, I always look for Chevron stations where the food is consistently good and unmistakably Southern. Fried chicken, fried okra, and if you’re lucky, fried pickles.

In central Virginia and West Virginia, I stop at Sheetz, where you can concoct your own sandwiches on a computer screen. They even have pesto on occasion. Very fancy.

In Georgia, I keep an eye out for Jim ’N Nick’s Community BBQ joints. There are 37 of them sprinkled throughout the Peach State, Alabama, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina. The food is great and you’ll want to stuff your pockets with the cheese biscuits. Don’t ask if I’ve ever done that.

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but when all else fails, I look for Cracker Barrels. The food is slow but you can get a head start on your Christmas shopping while you wait. Told you I was an expert!

So, I was intrigued when I read that a Buc-ee’s Travel Center was coming to Virginia, in New Kent County, about 20 miles this side of Richmond, off I-64. I’ve heard about this Texas-based chain and its cult-like following for years, but I’ve never been to one. These are not truck stops, they are billed as “one-of-a-kind destinations.” I imagine a cross between Dollywood and a 7-Eleven.

When New Kent County Virginia Economic Development announced the arrival of Buc-ee’s Tuesday on Facebook, the response was stunning. Last time I checked, the post had been shared more than 4,000 times and there were nearly 2,000 comments. I haven’t seen this much excitement about New Kent County since Colonial Downs opened in 1997. Hopefully, this enterprise will be more successful than the ponies have been.

Here’s a peek:

According to the official announcement, this Buc-ee’s will be 74,000 square feet with 120 fueling positions, 557 parking spaces, 24 Tesla charging spots, and will create 175 jobs paying $16-18 an hour.

I’m also on an SEC college football recruiting website and a guy from Virginia mentioned that we were getting a Buc-ee’s and asked what they were like. A slew of responses poured in immediately. Many of them swooning over the brisket.

“They’re great,” one poster gushed, “Size of a Walmart but the service level of a Chick-fil-A.”

“Adult Disney World,” another posited.

“Brisket tacos for breakfast, fried pies and the Beaver nuggets are addictive.” Whoa. Beaver Nuggets?

This was such big news that it even made Southern Living’s online magazine:
“Buc-ee’s is one step closer to world—er, Southern—domination with its announcement of its first-ever Virginia location this week.”

Buc-ee’s, beloved for its clean bathrooms and elevated food, was founded in 1982. Its first location outside of Texas opened in Alabama in 2019, spurring a rapid expansion throughout the Southeast with stores in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and now Virginia.

Only drawback? This one isn’t due to open for four years. Looks like we’ll have to wait till 2027 to find out what’s in the Beaver Nuggets.

Have you been to a Buc-ee’s? Was it all that?

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.

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16 responses to “Southern Domination and Beaver Nuggets.”

  1. James Kiser Avatar
    James Kiser

    Nice article!

  2. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    Have passed a few in Texas but didn’t stop. Four years? I’ve watched a Sheetz go up near me in a matter of 2-3 months.

    1. I have yet to see a 75,000 square foot Sheetz with 60 gas pumps.

      1. how_it_works Avatar

        The lead time on 60 gas pumps is probably 4 years due to shortages.

    2. Yes, but this is no Dollar General or SHEETZ! They are amazing! Big, bright, clean & tasty!

  3. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Buckee’s. Prepare for black Friday like mall madness. Never seen anything like it.

  4. Lynwood Allen Avatar
    Lynwood Allen

    Google, “Things Southerners Say At Buccee’s”

    1. Kathleen Smith Avatar
      Kathleen Smith

      I did. Too funny.

  5. Lynwood Allen Avatar
    Lynwood Allen

    Have your picture made with a giant beaver or a pickup truck painted up like a beaver.

  6. There’s one near Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. I did not visit it, but from the highway it looked like a “truck stop” for people who don’t drive big rigs. It was huge and I counted 60 double-sided gas pumps, for a total of 120 automobile fueling stations.

    At this point, I’d assume this latest one will include provisions for charging electric vehicles.

    EDIT: Oops! The article says charging stations will be included. Duh.

  7. C Nesbit Avatar

    My first Buc-ee’s visit was about 6 years ago near San Antonio. Pulling a travel trailer it was very easy to get in and out and it had low fuel prices. The brisket sandwich was excellent. The other trinkets in the store had little appeal even though the merchandise assortment was huge. I did appreciate the clean bathrooms.

    My most recent Buc-ee’s visit was on I-75 in Georgia in January of this year. Still easy to access the 60 or so pumps, fuel prices still low but not the lowest in the area according to my “Gas Buddy” app. The brisket was disappointing and did not live up to my memory of the taste in San Antonio. The merchandise was still not appealing. My perception is that like many fast growing retail companies Buc-ee’s is struggling to maintain the same level of customer experience across all of its now many locations.

    For me the advantage to Buc-ee’s is the ease of accessing the fuel pumps while towing a travel trailer, combined with highly competitive fuel prices. The clean restrooms are also a plus, although the Georgia location was not as spotless as the Texas location I visited. I find the store had a “wow” factor on the first visit but that rapidly waned since I have no use for the trinkets. It remains to be seen how if this retail concept has long term attraction for a large enough segment of the population outside of Texas to sustain the size of the operation.

    For those who care, the Georgia location had a large number of electric charging stations. None were in use when I visited.

  8. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Sounds too much like Stucky’s for my taste. Pecan log anyone?

  9. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Daughter lives 5 minutes walk from work. Drives 20 minutes to the Sheetz to get breakfast.

  10. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    South of the Border… Slightly racist billboards included, although most of those have been removed in the last decades.

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