I had seen signs for Buc-ee’s while on a few roads and interstates during our time in Houston and San Antonio, and I was wondering what it was. I quickly did a search for it and found out that it’s pretty much on the top of the list of every Texan’s favorite places to go to while traveling the interstates and on road trips. Buc-ee’s, in its simplest description, is a chain of (VERY LARGE!) convenience stores and gas stations that has a near-cult-like following. It has locations in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and oftentimes when you read about people talking about Buc-ee’s, when people leave these states and live elsewhere, Buc-ee’s is one of the biggest things they get nostalgic for. We visited one en route to San Antoniio for our day trip yesterday, and I finally understood what the big fuss was.
First, Buc-ee’s has an iconic mascot: Buc-ee’s the beaver. His face and cute little body grace pretty much all of their labeling and branded products. He is definitely a memorable character. As soon as you walk into a Buc-ee’s, the mass, insane variety of products confronts you: endless sections of gummies, jams, chips, “veggie” chips, snacks of all varieties, sodas, all neatly organized and labeled with huge signs. In addition to that, they have huge sections of fresh food: a bakery section with the supposed Texan must-eat dessert/breakfast item, kolaches, an entire case of endless types of freshly made beef and turkey jerky, and get this: YOU CAN GET FAST FOOD HERE IN THE FORM OF BARBECUE. That’s right: you can get a plate of burnt tips, ribs, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, even BRISKET here! I was completely floored when I saw those signs. Everything else seemed understandable, but as soon as I saw the BBQ signs and the huge lines forming for them, I totally got it.
Buc-ee’s is definitely more memorable, but the love and fanfare for it reminded me of how obsessed people who live in the southeast region of the US always feel about Publix Supermarkets and their famous “Pub subs,” or Publix submarine sandwiches. I will be honest: they are pretty darn good. The quality of their bread is very good, and they use Boar’s Head lunch meats. Mmmmm.