The first thing to know about Fuel City in Mesquite is that those famous tacos are for sale, $1.62 each, cash only.
The second thing to know about Fuel City in Mesquite is that the expansive store set on 17 acres is open as of 6 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. And once it opens, it never closes. It's a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year operation.
The new Fuel City is located off of the frontage road of U.S. Route 80 at the intersection of S. Town East Boulevard in Mesquite.
Owner John Benda's first Fuel City, which opened in Dallas in 1999, is famous for its low gas prices, karaoke, street tacos and swimming pool. A swimming pool at gas station? "A lot of people don't understand the swimming pool," Benda says.
But he's in the entertaining business, as he explains it; Fuel City isn't only about fueling up. "It's about the feast of sights and sounds," says Joseph Bickham, Benda's son-in-law and the vice president of operations for the company.
The new Mesquite Fuel City will not have a swimming pool. But it'll have plenty of other oddities to keep people talking.
The gas station will host karaoke from 3 to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Bickham says. The exception is opening weekend; they won't have karaoke until Week 2.
The new Fuel City will also eventually have live animals such as longhorns and donkeys and deer roaming the green pasture behind it, just like the Dallas original. First, Benda will need to get the Mesquite City Council's approval, which is likely to be amusing. ("They probably aren't expecting that request," Benda says.)
It will also have an expansive patio on the side of the gas station. That patio is important for anyone who wants tacos: It is not wise to eat tacos al pastor in the front seat of your car. Otherwise, you'll need a trip to the dry cleaner and an interior car wash. Trust me.
The Original Fried Pie Shop has its first Mesquite location inside the new Fuel City. Pies start at $3.25 each for apple, blackberry, peach and the like.
Fuel City doesn't go big on the tchotchkes like other jumbo gas stations like Buc-ee's do. Fuel City sticks to the simple stuff like chips, beer, candy and caffeinated drinks -- but offers a gargantuan variety of each.
"It's about options," Bickham says, pointing to the fountain soda machine with more than 100 varieties. "You've got to have all the Cokes." That means that guy who drinks Diet Caffeine-Free Cherry Vanilla Coke will actually find it here.
You still might be wondering: Why? Why do we need tacos and karaoke and longhorns at a gas station?
"I want to wow as many people as I can," Benda says. "I want people to drive by and say, 'That place looks cool.'"
Benda easily achieved that in late 2014, when he lowered gas prices to $1.99 a gallon at the Dallas shop. The Dallas Morning News described the scene as "hectic" as people came from all over Dallas-Fort Worth to cram into the parking lot for low-cost fuel. Benda hired seven police officers to direct traffic. Seven.
The management plans to keep gas prices "highly competitive" at the Mesquite station.
Benda already has a third Fuel City expected to open in late 2016 in Fort Worth. No telling -- not yet, anyway -- what he'll dream up there. But yes, there will be tacos.
Take a look:
New Mesquite gas station: 2170 S. Town East Blvd. fuelcity.com.