As far as he knows, Chris Williams’ restaurant is the only one in Lexington that makes its own bacon.
The restaurant is Roy’s Grille, and its location is none other than the Exxon gas station on Main Street.
Williams’ bacon is a breakfast and lunch favorite at Williams’ restaurant, as are his shrimp and grits, home fries and biscuits. His smoked prime rib sandwiches, pulled pork and blackened chicken Alfredo – all made from scratch by Williams and his crew – are lunch and dinner favorites.
"A lot of people who hear about us say, ‘A gas station, get outta here. I’m not going to eat out of there.’ I knew that would be people’s response going into it, but I wasn’t worried because I knew we had a good product," Williams said.
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The location has actually proved beneficial for Roy’s Grille which recently celebrated two years in business in the location and has become a favorite with the locals.
Roy's Grille isn't the only popular Midlands-area eatery located inside a gas station. Here are three more that might have you changing your weekend dining destinations.
* Mom and Pop's -- Located in the Citgo station on Church St. in Leesville, Mom and Pop's claims to have the "Best Burger in Town" and, judging from the restaurant's longevity and feedback on the restaurant's Facebook page, they just might be right. Other can't-miss menu items include the hamburger steak plates and chili dogs. For breakfast, check out the three-egg omelet and hash browns
* Jimmy's Mart -- While this Two Notch Road convenience store does have other items on its menu, it is known by most as "Hot Dog Heaven." Step up the counter and order a dog "all the way" and you'll be served a hot dog on a fresh roll served with mustard, onion and a beanless chili. Take the food to go or elbow up to one of the standup counters or plop down in at a table and soak in all the Jimmy's Mart glory.
* 2 Fat 2 Fly -- Okay, so 2 Fat 2 Fly isn't exactly inside a convenience store but ask anyone in Columbia for a good gas station restaurant and you're sure to hear its name come up. Located less than a quarter of a miles from Williams-Brice Stadium, the lines at 2 Fat 2 Fly can get pretty long on a game day. And when your specialty menu item is stuffed wings, why wouldn't they? That's right. Bone-in, South Carolina-raised chicken stuffed with goodies like jalapenos, bacon and cheddar (known as the Sucka Punch wing) and mozzarella, Italian herbs and spices (the Chicken Parmesan wing).
* Quaker Steak and Lube-- Quaker Steak is somewhat different from the other restaurants on this list because it is a chain restaurant but still one worth adding to your list of must-try convenience store diners. The restaurant is located inside the mega Petro travel center at I-77 and Bluff Road and offers up half-pound steakburgers, steaks, baby back ribs and "best wings USA." Also inside the Petro, a full convenience store, a Starbucks, an 8,700-square-foot arcade and a 16-lane bowling alley--the combination of which can equal a night of dining and entertainment all under one "convenient" roof.
Check out these popular Midlands convenience store restaurants:
711 W. Main St., Lexington
Mom and Pop's
415 E. Church St., Leesville
9900 Two Notch Rd., Columbia
2 Fat 2 Fly
905 A. Bluff Rd., Columbia
Quaker Steak and Lube
2154 S. Beltline Blvd., Columbia
Bringin’ home the bacon
Check out how Chris Williams makes the bacon at his Roy’s Grill restaurant in Lexington and you, too, may decide to bring home some convenience store bacon.
Making the bacon is a seven-day process that starts with raw pork belly from the local meat market. After removing the skin, Williams cures the bacon in a mixture of brown sugar and salt and seals it for five days to allow the salt and sugar to extract the moisture from the meat. On the sixth day, Williams scrapes off the salt and sugar, pats the meat dry and puts it in the cooler for an additional two days to allow the meat to get a tacky surface that the smoke will adhere to when it is cooked two days later.
"Then I’ll take it out to the smoker, and I smoke it for about four hours at 150 degrees, take it back in, let it cool for a couple of hours. I slice it and make you a bacon, egg and cheese melt," Williams said. "After doing it for so long, it’s a fairly simple process."