Most people’s first impression of gas station food is that of pre-packaged, processed impulse buys that usually occur as the result of a road trip or late night munchies. And for good reason as that is usually the case.
That all changed for me recently when I walked into the Encinitas Chevron waiting for my car to be washed.
First off, it’s like a mini-mart on steroids with an amazing selection of beer, wine and just about every energy drink on the market along with a 65” flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi.
Then, as I ventured over toward the register, I noticed a full-on deli with a breakfast, sandwich, wrap, hot dog, smoothie and frozen yogurt board that made me wish I had ordered the super deluxe wash and wax so I had more time to explore this menu. By the way, the sandwich menu includes a Cuban, more on that later.
There is also a grab and go section with a nice variety of offerings made fresh daily.
I happened to bump into Corinne Hackbart who owns the Encinitas Chevron with her husband Dave and mentioned that I write about the local food scene and would love to come back to sample some of their deli offerings. Corrine was originally a nurse specializing in cardiology and Dave was a financial guru before they purchased the Uptown Touchless Car Wash in Hillcrest about 12 years ago. That led to the Encinitas Chevron purchase, which at the time was old and dated.
Since then they have turned it into one of the nicer gas station/car wash/delis around. Corrine had always wanted to run a deli and thought it would be a great combination to offer top of the line deli fare to motorists fueling up or getting a car wash.
Her concept has proven to be spot on. Both businesses, along with raising three teenage girls, keep Corinne and Dave very busy. The little time they have to go out is spent eating great food at restaurants that include Flemmings, Sushi Ota and Jakes. It’s good to know they are being influenced by quality establishments.
To ensure she had a pro running the deli, Corinne brought on Mary Geiselhart, who brought with her more than 30 years of food service including 20 of those running all of the North County Von’s delis. Mary definitely added her touch to the deli and is always adding specials to the menu while having fun naming her creations after customers whose special requests end up on the menu. Their emphasis is on the customer and special orders are welcomed. If it’s a good request, it’s been known to become a permanent part of the menu or a regular special.
Over the course of a few visits, I was able to sample a few sandwiches including the Soprano, which includes dry Italian salami, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, and olive oil and vinegar. I had it Panini style so it was all melted together beautifully. This is a mega sandwich and could easily be eaten in two sittings.
The same can be said of their Cuban sandwich, which again was enormous. I’ve mentioned my love for Cubans before and how they are common in the convenience stores of Miami and other cities with Cuban populations.
I’ve also sampled the hot dogs, including the chili dog, the bratwurst and the fire dog, which is infused with jalapeno peppers and packs a kick. The dogs are all Vienna Beef, which is a sure sign of quality and I enjoyed every one of them.
Having grown up on Coney Island and Skyline
chili dogs, it’s good to know there is a worthy local provider for my chili dog craving when it strikes.
The deli also includes a full salad and condiment bar and they are now offering a custom cooler packed with any deli items and beverages. This is a perfect for the beach, a picnic or a road trip. I’ve heard great things about the breakfast sandwiches including the breakfast bagel with cheese, eggs, ham, bacon and sausage. They recently added a great espresso bar with coffee drinks ranging from lattes to frappucinos.
Besides the amazing rib joint attached to the gas station in Kansas City I once experienced, I can’t think of a place like this that I would go if I was not getting a car wash or filling up my vehicle. The Encinitas Chevron and its Moonlight Beach Deli & Dogs has changed that and it really is worth checking out just for the deli. It’s really good food with a friendly, accommodating staff who make the whole experience very pleasurable.
Located at 350 Encinitas Boulevard, Moonlight Beach Deli & Dogs can also cater your office party or lunch meeting. Call (760) 942-6802 for details.
Coast News Lick the Plate columnist David Boylan is celebrating 10 years and 500 columns with the Coast News in 2019! His feature covers the ever expanding North County culinary scene that includes restaurants, culinary personalities, trends, observations, tributes and his popular takeover column where area businesses, bands or teams contribute to the column. Lick the Plate has also been a popular radio show for the past eight years in San Diego on 100.7 KFMB, and on stations in Detroit, Michigan, Windsor Ontario and Traverse City, Michigan. Besides the column and radio show, David runs Tatonka Digital & Analog, a boutique marketing agency headquartered in Oceanside, California. Reach him with show suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lick-the-plate.com