Quintessential Texas road-trip phenomenon Buc-ee's has finally opened its first location in D-FW, across the street from Texas Motor Speedway in far north Fort Worth. Inside the everything-is-bigger gas station, you might experience deja vu.
If you've seen one beaver, you've seen them all, right? Maybe.
From aisle layout to bathroom location and inventory, the new store is almost indistinguishable from other locations you might have visited en route to Austin, Houston or Louisiana. But, whoever said that's a bad thing? If you're new to the concept or curious about a few things specific to the new Fort Worth location, here's a glimpse inside the cult favorite.
Bitten by the nostalgia beaver
In this crazy mixed-up world, Beaver Bites and Beaver Nuggets are things you actually want to encounter. So are red, white and blue purses that look like the Texas flag and jars of pickled watermelon rind. With 60,000 square feet, Buc-ee's offers a lot to explore. Sure, most of it's ridiculous, but doesn't that kind of feel like home? This is where you'll find a mini pecan pie or candy you haven't eaten since childhood.
Come on: Isn't a part of you morbidly curious as to what a Wax Bottle tastes like to an adult palate? When's the last time you twisted the top off of a glass bottled Coke? There's no time like the present.
The pace is "meandering"
If you've been to Buc-ee's in Temple on an Austin road-trip, you already know that it doesn't have to be opening week for it to be a madhouse. Around every aisle corner or on the way into the "World Famous" bathrooms (called so for their cleanliness), you'll find folks heads-down tapping on their smart phones, busily documenting the quirky treasures spotted on their summer vacation pit stop. Perhaps they've never seen people pushing full-sized shopping carts through a gas station before. Neither is it uncommon to see folks just standing in a daze in oddly inconvenient places.
Sorry 'bout it. If you're burning daylight or prone to sidewalk rage, Buc-ee's is not for you.
It's a gas station, but it's not inexpensive
Gas itself is, in fact, fairly cheap at the moment -- regular is currently $1.98 per gallon -- but, not much else is.
Thinking about getting your cousin a TCU branded washers set for his birthday? That'll set you back $99.99 for the board and $19.99 for the purple and white washers. How about an iron that makes Texas-shaped waffles? $59.99, please. But, that's nothing. Even if you're not enticed by kitschy swag, food and treats add up, as well. It's easy to leave with snack sticker shock.
Speaking of eating, don't expect to sit a spell
Buc-ee's can feel like a God-send when you're on a long road-trip, hungry and unfamiliar with the area.
Sure, you could get off the highway and take chances on a rumored Dairy Queen that may-or-may-not have shut down for good in the mid-'90s. But, you'd rather not, and that's part of the Buc-ee's beauty. The new Fort Worth location is no exception: It's right at the intersection of I-35 and Texas 114.
That said, it's not a restaurant. There aren't tables or booths or -- come to think of it -- not even any benches outside. Buc-ee's food can be right tasty, and there is plenty of it, but don't expect to sit and stay. You eat in your car. Or, leaning up against a mound of deer feed piled on the front sidewalk. Stained shirts are almost inevitable. It's the Buc-ee's way.
It's hard to get into -- right now
We mentioned that the new Fort Worth store's location is laudable, and there's a lot of truth to that. But, current construction means that traffic lanes are already narrowed on seemingly every side of it. Expect long waits at four-way stops and possible detours before you even get into the lot.
Oh, and once you're there, even though the lots are massive, that doesn't mean finding a parking will be a breeze. There's the aforementioned meandering, both by pedestrians and drivers, and you might find yourself pulling into the back 40 and hoofing it a ways into the store.