You won't notice anything different on the outside of the gas and convenience store on the edge of town on Minnesota Highway 23, but inside, "we just rearranged things," Vos said.
That gave them the room to add a bunch of new equipment, including a broaster, so since July, they've been serving pizza, chicken, hamburgers, French fries, chicken fillets, "anything that can be done in a fryer," Vos said. "We try to make our own buns for the hamburgers. Coleslaw we make fresh. We try to make a lot of fresh stuff."
Rhonda Vos was making personal pizzas, adding the ingredients by hand.
Photo by Jodelle Greiner
Manager Bev Vos drops pieces of chicken into the broaster at Buffalo Ridge Express in Ruthton. The convenience store put in a kitchen and started serving a wider variety of food by request.
"The crust comes frozen," she said, "we do everything else so it's fresh."
They've always had coffee and rolls, cookies and pre-packaged sandwiches to microwave, but now they also have breakfast sandwiches, breakfast pizzas and burritos.
Booths and a table provide seating for those inclined to stick around.
"The long table is the coffee table in the morning," Vos said.
The team starts cooking for lunch at about 11 a.m. and draws quite a crowd with a noon special every weekday.
"We'll be cooking from now until we close it (the kitchen) down at 8:30," Vos said.
Employees from the elevator, which "employs quite a few people," take advantage of the proximity to get their lunch, Vos said.
"To-go orders - the truckers really like it," she said. "Clara City's about the only place to pull over before Sioux Falls. We're easy on, easy off."
People who work in Marshall call the Express and give their order before they leave work and it can be ready by the time they get to Ruthton, Vos said. "Call and take 'em home. Take 'n' bake pizzas - a lot are going to that," she said.