A few observant locals know the exact time it happens. Green Spot’s lead cook Pedro Cristobal and his family make enough breakfast tacos each morning to fill three wide pans. They’re wrapped tightly in foil and kept steamy throughout the day. Time it close to closing, some regulars have figured it out, and you might just land a free taco with whatever else you’re ordering—maybe a keg pull of kombucha or some bison jerky—because any leftover tacos are about to go bye-bye. Gratis or not, the tacos are tucked into foil and stacked, filled with bacon that’s still crispy at 2:00 p.m. Use tongs to lift them or face a scalded palm.
The hey-they’re-giving-it-away breakfast taco is exactly the kind of friendly, old-school general store tone that nearby White Rockers have come to love. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill Texaco embedded in another strip mall. Green Spot, an unleaded gem a stone’s throw from Dallas’s White Rock Lake, is carefully curated and much more neighborly. Those hot-dog rollers are for the other gas stations. This is the kind of gas station with double shots of espresso, steak and eggs, and indie-made bug bombs.
It’s all friendly, as friendly as friendly gets—as much as you’d hope for and want at a North Texas gas station and healthy-food store that once featured a fro-yo toppings bar (endless sprinkles and the fresh-made salsa bar went away when COVID-19 arrived). There’s Noble Coyote espresso from a local Dallas roastery, strong enough to raise the double-dead (that’s zombies after they’ve been beheaded). On a recent visit, Noble Coyote’s co-owner Kevin Sprague popped behind the coffee counter, clacking his espresso beans and tamping them down himself. A curtain of roasted-chocolate and dark-wood aromas drops over the space.
During the lunch rush, you might see locals in crisp and clean scrubs, ordering from a menu on which few items are over eight bucks. Maybe you’ll spot a power suit or two, all business except for a trio of foil-swaddled breakfast tacos in one hand like Wolverine’s claws. On any given weekday, you’ll definitely see a set of wrinkled pajamas whisk by holding a styrofoam container of huevos rancheros or a breakfast BLT. Today, a team of elderly cyclists rests at the patio tables outside the market, drinking Green Spot’s earth-friendly juices. This group is the Velo Veterans, a cycling community of mostly retired folks who race the sun a few times a week as it rises over White Rock Lake. Green Spot is always on their route.
“There’s a lot here that you can’t get at other places,” says Sprague. It’s true, especially when you remember that you’re standing in a gas station on the forever-busy Buckner Boulevard. Turn in any direction at Green Spot and you’ll catch something local. Photos of the White Rock Lake spillway (taken by Adam Velte, Green Spot’s manager) dot the walls. Dallas’s Empire Baking is represented with cookies and muffins stashed next to the breakfast tacos. The fridges are, of course, full of local beer and kombucha, some of the drinks made about a mile or two away. Without any fuss, Dallas musician Erykah Badu will occasionally swing by for vegetarian options, or so the legends go. The collaboration—the community of the Spot—is why Velte’s worked here since it opened in February of 2008.
Then there’s the food. Try the chilaquiles, a big plate of happiness tangled up in salsa and tortilla chips. Cristobal asks if you want it spicy first, an important question to answer before he drops chiles and showers of lime. In one side of the container goes a scoop of creamy black beans (what gas station has piping-hot beans?); in another goes the fried egg, like a down comforter over a warm bed. Cristobal makes a grid pattern over the rest of the chilaquiles, lacing the chopped white onions and shredded cheese with sour cream. A forkful, a fully layered bite with all the red heat, will torch the cobwebs clear from your head.
How about a cheeseburger and fries? Green Spot has a simple and reliable heart-warmer (they will do a true medium rare if you ask) with cheddar or pepper jack. The beef patty is flat-grilled and seasoned with just a little salt and pepper. The juices are locked in behind the seared crust. That good, greasy juice runneth over onion, lettuce, and tomato between the soft bun. This cheeseburger works best as a dine-in meal, first bite enjoyed seconds after it’s been on that searing griddle.
The Spot has made it through the pandemic with a little bit of luck and help from friends, Velte says. Patrons have kept up their usual stop-ins despite the masks and the swirling dread. Recent weekends have boosted business into the sky. Right now, Velte’s thinking about a kids’ menu for the school that’s opening up soon behind the market.
“Let’s bring even more of this together,” he said, gesturing around the store. If we had been at any other gas station in the city, this sentiment might have been confusing. But not at Green Spot.
702 N. Buckner Boulevard, Dallas
Hours: Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.