When you’re on the hunt for craft coffee, the corner gas station probably isn’t your first stop. However, a local spot famous for their lattes and breakfast burritos is redefining people’s expectations in the Black Hills.
Soul Food Bistro & Espresso Bar is a coffee shop and cafe located inside the Yesway-owned gas station in Spearfish. Assistant food manager Samantha Lucero calls the place a hidden gem within the community.
GRIND GRADY’S BEANS
Interested in purchasing Soul Food’s coffee or espresso beans for your home? Call head roaster Chris Grady at (605) 717-7540, or email him at email@example.com to put in an order.
“Soul Food is all about quality and great customer service, but many people don’t necessarily know about us,” she said. “We’re in a gas station, so it’s kind of surprising to people.”
While the shop offers high-quality food and drinks, it’s their attitude that truly stands out.
Because of the restaurant’s name, Lucero says many people come in expecting Southern home cooking, like shrimp and grits. However, she tells them they’re feeding the soul in a different way.
Sandwiches, paninis, and other menu items at Soul Food have intentional names like the Patience, the Tolerance, the Humility, and the Contentment. The team at Soul Food is all about providing an excellent customer experience for the people they’re serving.
“We get to know them by communicating and building a relationship right away to help them get exactly what they’re looking for, or maybe what they didn’t know they were looking for,” said Lucero.
“WE GET TO KNOW [PATRONS] AND UNDERSTAND THEIR TASTES, WANTS, AND NEEDS, AND THEN WE PRODUCE THIS AWESOME DRINK, AND THEY’RE LIKE, ‘THIS IS CRAZY, YOU’RE IN A GAS STATION.’”
Almost everything at Soul Food is made from scratch, from their made-to-order breakfast burritos to daily featured lattes with clever flavor combinations like Honey Nut Cheerio (honey, almond, vanilla) and Jack Frost (white chocolate, vanilla, peppermint).
In fact, Soul Food roasts its beans in house. Head roaster Chris Grady began roasting coffee beans almost a decade ago when the gas station was under different ownership. Now, Yesway serves his coffee in more than 10 of their other stores.
“So many people walk in here looking for a gas station cappuccino machine, and we’re like, ‘We have something better,’” said Lucero.
The staff at Soul Food makes a point to teach customers about their coffee products and learn about their likes and dislikes.
“We know what it’s like to go somewhere and spend four or five dollars on a coffee and leave unhappy,” said Lucero. “We want you to be satisfied.”
Soul Food has a crew of coffee regulars who come in for lattes and americanos, which Lucero says are the top sellers. In the summer, Grady makes large batches of bold, flavorful cold brew, and their smoothies and blended coffee drinks are also popular.
Customers can even purchase Grady’s beans at the shop. Beans are available whole or freshly ground upon purchase.
Beyond coffee and breakfast burritos, Soul Food also offers a wide variety of other meals including paninis, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and biscuits and gravy.
“We try to do as much from scratch and made-to-order as possible to keep that hometown feel,” said Lucero. “We love the coffee, we love the food, and we’re proud to work here.”
With an unassuming location, Lucero says many customers are drawn into the shop by the smell of roasting coffee beans. Once they’ve experienced what Soul Food has to offer, however, she says they’re out spreading the word about their positive vibes (and full stomachs).