Recently, QuikTrip gas station officially launched its national made-to-order kitchen menu during an invite-only event, held at the company’s newest location in Tucson.

The QuikTrip at 3390 W. Ina Road, on the corner of Ina and Camino de la Tierra, is now open to the public. Inside, along with the usual assortment of amenities that one can find in a gas station, QuikTrip is offering an array of hot-cooked food items, as well as customized frozen treats. 

Though common public perception is a gas station is simply for gasoline and maybe a candy bar and a soda, QuikTrip is looking to change that. In an attempt to put that information out to the public, the event at the new store had sbout 10 Quiktrip employees working behind the counter, and about 10 members of management roaming throughout the store continually asking for feedback.

There was also a person dressed as a pink milkshake, and another dressed as a chef’s hat, which is the company’s logo for the kitchen aspect of the store. All of the drinks, chips and snacks were arranged as so the logos were properly facing outward, and people were offered a free backpack and a coffee mug on their way out.

Chuck Barton, who is the director of sales and marketing for the company, said the gasoline industry has changed over the years. As sales in such items as tobacco are down, the company is looking for newer ways to bring customers into the store.

“When you think of a gas station, you don’t think of getting a toasted sandwich,” Barton said of the menu that consists of flatbreads, toasted sandwiches, personal pizzas, soft pretzels, shakes, real fruit smoothies and specialty coffee drinks.

From a touch-screen menu, guests were asked to punch in their orders and sample its cinnamon sugar soft pretzel, or its shredded beef quesadilla. After deciding what was wanted, the order was placed and a ticket was dispensed. During the event, every menu item was complimentary, but normally, a customer would then take the ticket to the cashier while the food was prepared.

Nick Powell, who is the company’s corporate chef, was on site as well to talk about the menu items its offering in 13 locations in Tucson, and all in town will be serving by the end April.

“We wanted to get input from consumers from throughout the entire process,” Powell said. “From the very beginning, we sent out surveys to our customers asking them ‘Is this something you would be interested in?’ So really, that is what has dictated why we test.”

Though all items were available to try, the company had some particular items ready all to sample during the event. The chicken, bacon and ranch flatbread was one of the items. It is made with diced chicken, crisp, smoky bacon, along with cheddar and Swiss cheeses. It was then topped with cool ranch dressing.

Another item sampled was its personal pepperoni pizza, which had a very fresh deep-dish appearance and taste.

The QT Kitchens are open daily 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the stores are open 24 hours a day.

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