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Beyond Baltimore: The Gas and Go Gourmet 1

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It sounds to be an oxymoron: Gas station food. Sure, the local gas-n-go may have some microwaveable munchies or pre-packaged sandwiches of dubious vintage, but gas stations don’t usually qualify as tabernacles of culinary excellence. However, this local service station defies that conventional wisdom.

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Eating the Unexpected

Howard Lasky’s Town Grill in Lisbon, MD is truly serendipity dining. Tucked into one side of a Citgo station, the Town Grill retains its crossroads country store atmosphere, with a cappuccino machine alongside a rack of knit caps and toothpaste displayed next to windshield wiper blades. The food, however, is excellent.

Town Grill has an extensive menu and specializes in smoked dishes. Despite the countrified appearance, the smoked salmon and trout are definitely uptown. Lasky has three smokers and uses a combination of apple, cherry, and apricot woods. His pulled pork is a standout, with a solid smoky flavor, served with a unique mustard-based sauce on the side.

In business for 4 years, Lasky previously worked as a general contractor and ran cross country ski areas. He characterizes his cuisine as “Not bad for gas station food.”

“It was a mess when I took over,” he said. “I saw the potential. I am a businessman and had nothing to do with food, ever. I researched why people go into the restaurant business.”

Town Grill focuses primarily on breakfast and lunch with special dinners on Thursday nights. Regular customers include both the blue collar and more refined residents of western Howard County. The restaurant offers catering and handles all the food service for Larriland Farms.

For recipes and more of Reed Hellman’s signature culinary adventures, visit his Website at www.reedhellmanwordsmith.com. You can follow his monthly columns in Recreation News and read his feature articles in Business Monthly.

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