If you think eating good food at a gas station isn’t an option, the North Shore General Store just may change your mind. Darron White and the Chevron station in Princeville have been filling up tanks since 2006.
Besides fuel for your car, you can fill up your belly with “healthy” food during breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Breakfast includes Loco Moco ($8.49) with rice, two eggs, homemade brown gravy and a grass-fed beef burger. There’s also breakfast burritos, bagels and Spam with eggs. Espressos are made from Italy’s Lavazza Super Crema whole beans.
“We make feel-good food, but we try to make it so it’s at least a little bit healthy,” says Darron, who also offers vegetarian and gluten-free options. “Eating burgers, fries and pizza is not the healthiest way to eat, but we try to offer a healthier version of comfort food.”
Darron owned several restaurants in Texas and was a professional tennis instructor for six years before he moved to Kauai in 2001 to teach at Hanalei Bay Resort. Darron’s brother, his mother, who was born and raised in Samoa, and his Missouri-raised father soon joined him. Darron bought the gas station and convenience store from Jeff and Karin Guest, owners of Princeville Ranch and partners in North Shore Kauai Beef.
“All of our burgers and steak plates are made from North Shore Kauai Beef,” says Darron of the grass-fed, locally raised and slaughtered product that is also vacuum-sealed and available for purchase. “It’s a healthier beef. There’s no antibiotics, steroids, or hormones and it comes from right down the street.”
Unique and tasty 5-ounce burgers include Sombrero ($7.49) with ham, cheese, a fried egg, homemade salsa verde, onion and Kauai Fresh Farms lettuce and tomato. The Meanest Veggie Burger ($6.99) piles lettuce, tomatoes and onions on a freshly made falafel patty with a drizzle of tahini sauce. Recent additions include a Pizza Burger ($6.99) with homemade marinara, provolone cheese and pepperoni as well as a Chili Pepper Burger ($6.99) with homemade chili pepper sauce, homemade honey-wasabi coleslaw, lettuce, tomato and onion.
My husband, Daniel, is a burger connoisseur with a new North Shore favorite. Braddah’s BBQ Burger ($7.49) is enormously delicious and loaded with two strips of crisp bacon, two beer-battered onion rings, barbecue sauce and cheese. Kimchi Teriyaki Cheeseburger ($7.49) — which won’t be on the menu until next spring, but Darron says you can order it anyway — is a tasty bombshell with teriyaki sauce, cheese, kimchi, sriracha and a fried egg.
“When my wife and I go on vacation, we always look for exotic places to eat,” Darron says. “I came up with that kimchi burger when we were in (Washington) D.C., last year. We went down a street that was all food trucks and one of them, which we saw on the Food Network, served a cheesesteak with kimchi and scrambled eggs with a sweet or spicy sauce.”
I could write another article on just the calzones and pizzas, which are baked in a brick oven and include homemade marinara and homemade dough. If you like thin crust, ask for hand-tossed, but if you like cracker-thin crust, ask for “thin crust.” Pizza specials run every night and house pies include Pesto (with house-made pesto), The Works, Paniolo Chicken, Vinny’s Teriyaki Chicken and Bacon Mushroom Onion Cheeseburger.
Holo Holo Burger ($5.99) lets you build your own by adding more than 20 toppings for 89 cents each. Sides include fries ($2.99) as well as crunchy homemade beer-battered onion rings and pickle chips. There’s also sandwiches, salads, all-beef Kosher hot dogs, hot wings, chicken strips and fish and chips.
Passion Bakery in Kapaa was one of Darron’s first suppliers. In the beginning, owner Michael Sterioff, made and sold cookies at North Shore General Store. Today, he makes taro brioche buns for the burgers as well as large and chewy cookies such as mac nut chocolate chip, white chocolate chip, mac nut cranberry oatmeal and peanut butter cup.
“When you put good quality food in someone’s stomach, and you see that smile on their face, you know you’re feeding people’s souls,” says Darron, who also sends the North Shore General Store lunch truck to Anini Beach on weekdays. “If you’re going to come and get gas, you can grab some dinner, too. That way you don’t have to go to the grocery store and then the gas station.”
Marta Lane has been a food writer on Kauai since 2010 and is the author of Tasting Kauai: Restaurants – From Food Trucks to Fine Dining, A Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island. For more information, visit www.TastingKauai.com.