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Beyond Baltimore: The Gas and Go Gourmet 2

The Sunshine General Store, home of the benchmark Sunshine Burger
Reed Hellman Wordsmith

It sounds to be an oxymoron: Gas station food. Gas stations don’t usually qualify as tabernacles of culinary excellence, but this local service station defies that conventional wisdom.

The Benchmark Burger

The Sunshine General Store, in Sunshine, MD at the intersection of Routes 97 and 650, stands as another rural culinary gem. In the back of a largely defunct Chevron station, this regional favorite is known throughout the area for its “Sunshine burgers”, a half-pound delight grilled on a traditional griddle top and served with a choice of standard fixings.

Sunshine burgers set the hamburger benchmark. Made with fresh ground beef from the Mount Airy Meat Locker, they are thick, juicy, and have that solid beef flavor. Sunshine serves at least 100 burgers every day and more on Saturdays. According to cook Cathy Valcourt, Sunshine’s burgers are so good because: “It’s the love! The love, the seasonings, and the grill!”

At lunch time, a constant stream of customers jockey for space on the four tattered bar stools at the counter, share seats around two elderly kitchen tables, or get their sandwiches to go. The Sunshine General Store offers a range of sandwiches and also serves breakfast, featuring platter-sized pancakes and grilling 40 to 50 pounds of bacon every day.

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


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