"I've wondered that myself," Stern said. "I can't explain why around here, gas station food tends to be excellent, instead of mediocre, except that in the South, culinary standards tend to be higher. People tend to expect better food. I suppose any place could get pre-fried chicken and heat it up, but here, gas stations honor their customers by not serving crappy food."
Stern points to chefs like Chris Williams, of Roy's Grille in Lexington, South Carolina, whose shrimp and grits is the creamiest blend of starch and pan-fried seafood he's had. Roy's Grille is named for Williams' hardworking grandfather, Leroy Carter, who woke up at 5am to work odd jobs before reporting for duty at the local sawmill, where he oftentimes worked until midnight. Roy's is the type of establishment where mill workers would have felt comfortable having a meal and relaxing a bit between bouts of backbreaking work. The food is as straightforward as it is delicious, based on recipes Williams learned at the hands of his mother and grandmother in Olar, South Carolina, a town of just 257.