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A burger from Powerstop. Photo courtesy of Powerstop

Road-Trip Restaurant: Powerstop

Don’t let the façade fool you—locals know this gas station in Gunnison has some of the best grub in town.

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Gunnison may not be as popular a tourist destination as nearby Crested Butte or Salida, but it serves as a convenient place to stock up on necessities for a variety of nearby outdoor activities: fishing in and around Blue Mesa Reservoir; camping in Gunnison National Park’s Black Canyon; skiing in Crested Butte; or hiking any of the numerous surrounding fourteeners. It is also home to the Powerstop, a humble-looking gas station and convenience store that also, surprisingly, serves as a burger joint, bar, and live music venue.

The first time I encountered the Powerstop was en-route to Crested Butte after a few beautiful days of camping, fishing, and hiking during peak wildflower season around Taylor Reservoir. My boyfriend and I were passing through Gunny for gas and a restroom break, not planning to eat. But when I emerged from said restroom, I was surprised to find him perched on a barstool at the gas station counter inhaling a fat cheeseburger. I’m not sure what disgusted me more—that he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying gas station food, or that he had already forgotten about the pancake breakfast I made us back at camp.

He insisted I take a bite. I was impressed: This was no truck-stop slop, this was a truly tasty sandwich. After my second bite, I took a look around and realized that this was not your run-of-the-mill gas station. A selection of beer taps behind the counter showcased some of southwest Colorado’s finest craft brews. Three whiteboards listed the inconspicuous eatery’s many offerings, from wings to burgers to an array of creative Philly-style cheesesteaks.

I was also pleased to learn that everything from the ingredients to the owners (who are brothers) comes from the surrounding valley: The coffee and espresso products are provided by the Butte’s beloved Camp 4 Coffee; the all-natural beef comes from Scanga Meats in nearby Salida; and the buns are baked fresh daily by sister company Luna Bakery.

We got back in the car to continue our trip with full stomachs, pleasantly surprised to have stumbled on such a find during a routine fuel stop. We agreed we would stop there on our next trip—likely to sample the egg sandwiches off the all-day breakfast menu.

905 N. Main St., Gunnison, 970-641-2328

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