Sheetz’s unique cuisine, coffee find popularity among students

Ben Wolford

Nothing says refined cuisine like fryz and pretzel meltz, and nothing suggests class like two hot dogz for 99 cents.

All right, so grabbing a bite to eat at Sheetz gas station isn’t fine dining in New York, but its popularity among college students is undeniable.

“It’s got beer, food, cigarettes – all the necessities of college life,” said senior physics major Jeremy Williams as he placed his late-night order on one of Sheetz’s order-takers. The stores are open non-stop all year.

“(Sheetz) is a restaurant, a convenience store and a gas station,” said Trish Boyd, manager of the Kent location.

What else is there to do at three in the morning on a weekday, Williams asked, but to go hang out at Sheetz?

For those with an appetite, Sheetz has a large menu and, according to the company Web site, prides itself in being “completely customizable.”

Williams said he makes his way to the Sheetz on East Main Street three to four times a week. His favorite menu item?

“The Shmonster is my favorite,” he said with a greedy grin, picturing the triple-layered, grease-drenched breakfast sandwich. “It’s artery-clogging.”

Williams and his friend, junior physics major Shawn Witham, said they could barely contain their excitement when the construction of the luminous red Sheetz building heralded the opening of the Kent Sheetz in 2006.

But one man’s fast food Mecca is another man’s “crap.”

“Look how ugly this (Sheetz) is – this has marred our landscape,” Kent State Professor Emeritus George Harrison said. “Where does ugliness stop?”

Since retiring, Harrison has had the chance to travel abroad. He explained a trend of “sameness” in the architecture of American strip malls and developments and a similar sameness in Tuscan hill towns and Parisian boulevards.

“But there’s a difference between sameness in excellence and sameness in crap,” he said.

As for the food, Harrison refuses to eat it.

“Fast food at its very best closely resembles food,” he said. “That’s not what food’s about.”

But a $2.99 six-inch grilled sub is all of what food’s about for a thrifty college student. Boyd said the majority of her business comes from students.

“Our biggest beer seller is Natty Light,” she said.

Boyd tries hard to cater to the college audience. That’s why they’ve started stocking a product called The Reload.

For $7.49, shoppers get clear plastic cups and standard orange ping-pong balls for one-stop-shop beer pong.

Clearly, Sheetz enjoys being unique. Paris and Tuscany may be beautiful, but there just isn’t anywhere else you can find beer pong sets and saladz.

Contact features reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].