When one goes in search of great Cuban food, a gas station isn’t usually the first place they go looking. However, a quick stop at The Corner Store Citgo in Venice, Florida will quickly sate such a craving.
The restaurant is owned by Belki and her husband Camilo, a literal mom-and-pop shop with their son occasionally filling in when needed.
Belki worked as a cook on a tobacco farm for most of her life. She prepares heaping helpings of food using the same recipes she perfected feeding hungry farmers in her native Cuba.
The menu typically includes standard dishes such as ropa vieja, empanadas, roast pork, chicken, and ground beef platters, black beans, two kinds of rice, plantains, and sandwiches, including their best seller, the pressed Cuban sandwich.
There are occasional changes from day to day as all food is made from scratch, but their incredibly loyal fanbase keeps coming back for the staples that have cemented their status as a hidden gem.
Customers also remark on the generosity with which the owners dispense samples of their food. They are rightfully proud of their fare and want to be sure that their customers know full well what they are ordering and that they’re happy before laying their money down.
There is nowhere to eat inside the gas station, but there is a covered patio behind the station with several tables and chairs. Despite this not being the coziest atmosphere, there are plenty of folks who happily rush to the patio as they can’t wait to enjoy their food.
Know Before You Go
It's wise to arrive earlier in the day as it is not uncommon for several items to sell out by mid-afternoon.