Aug 7, 2023 - Food and Drink

Soft opening: Checking out Richmond's first Sheetz

The first Sheetz in the city of Richmond. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

👋 Karri here, freshly back from checking out Richmond's newest Sheetz, which quietly opened Thursday in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center on Forest Hill Avenue.

Why it matters: It's the first Sheetz in the city limits and fourth to open in the Richmond area since March.

What's happening: Unlike my co-author and self-professed Wawa lover Ned Oliver, I don't spend a lot of time at gas stations. But given the controversy around this Sheetz, I was curious.

Folks, it's basically a gas station with a fast-food restaurant housed inside, and I wanted to hate it — or at least feel neutral about it.

  • I loved it.
Baked goods I did not eat. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

The store is clean and bright (at least for now. There's a coffee bar and milkshake counter, self-serve fountain/coffee/iced coffee drinks, grab-and-go snacks and wraps, and inside and outside seating.

  • Customers can self checkout, pre-order and pick up, opt for third party delivery, or just wander in and pay through a cashier like it's the 1990s.
There's something for everyone, including people just looking for a plush Bob Ross doll. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

The fast food is made to order (which is apparently kind of their thing), including hot dogs, burgers, wraps and entree salads, and what I tried is all serviceable and fine — and affordable.

  • Like a breakfast platter that comes with eggs, a biscuit, your choice of meat and hash browns — for $6.29.

And all of it is available 24/7.

The bottom line: One of the concerns protesters cited was that Sheetz would destroy the nearby small businesses, but as someone who frequents them (shoutout Galley, Oxford Cellars, Encore Vintage and Eat 66), I'm guessing Sheetz will drive more people to the center.

  • I'd be a lot more worried about the future of the fast-food chains down the road.

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