Royal Farms’ Chicken Ranked Among Country’s Best Gas Station Cuisine

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A sign outside the Royal Farms on Keswick Road in Hampden.

A glossy foodie magazine has validated what you already knew to be true: Royal Farms chicken is bomb.

A new ranking from Food & Wine magazine places one of Baltimore’s favorite fried chicken chains at the top of a list of the best gas station food in the United States. Author Hillary Eaton seems to get the draw of a fast food spot that’s just as good at making fried chicken and western fries as it is at selling cigarettes and junk food.

She also dishes out a reminder to those who turn their noses up at RoFo’s humble digs: “If a glance at chicken-filled buffet trays glowing golden under the heat lamp alongside lotto tickets and Lays chips puts you off, check yourself and just order it already.”

Perhaps what’s most impressive about Royal Farms making Food & Wine’s list is its sheer size. The company has 178 stores in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to its website. The next-biggest options in the ranking are Texas’ Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q, which has about 40 locations, and The Growler Guys, with about a dozen franchises scattered across the Pacific Northwest.

Aside from Mr. Kabob, a Michigan-based gas station Mediterranean destination with four locations, the other six eateries that made the cut are all mom-and-pop-style places. Their gourmet offerings look pretty good, too, ranging from Indian street food to Spanish tapas.

There’s another level to Royal Farms here in Baltimore: not every one is as good as the next. If you want to go down that trail, look to Baltimore magazine’s January ranking of all 31 locations in Charm City.

Ethan McLeod
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