Location #26
205 IH-45 South  (I-45 and Hwy 21)
Madisonville, TX 77864

On March 21, 2010, on our way from Houston to Dallas, I had my first trip to Buc-ee’s. Sure I had passed a Buc-ee’s (or two) before, but never ‘chanced’ to stop, always noticing the abundance of vehicles in the parking lot.

The Buc-ee’s billboards are catchy, and some mention the re-assurance that ‘fabulous’ bathrooms are ahead.

Today, despite the one hundred parked cars, we stopped in for a ‘quick’ visit. My first impression: This store is super clean. From the floors to the fountain drink area to the parking lot, there was no visible dirt, spills or trash for customers to see.

The store is more like a travel center. A one-stop-shop. This location offers gas, food, ice cream, coffee, fresh fudge, jerky, drinks, candy, ice, (should I continue?). If you are traveling, this is the place to make your pit-stop.

We entered the store, and were welcomed by an employee. We then walked around a second, and found that we had made our way to the fudge. (Maybe our noses were leading the way!) The store has at least ten different types of fudge. Maybe even fifteen. Some flavors I remember were peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate, mint chocolate, Heath, Cookies and Cream, plain, and walnut. We were offered a sample, and I tried the mint chocolate. It was good. Really good. The Heath fudge was good, too! Portions of fudge were sold for $3.50 each or buy 4, get 2 free. I could have eaten 6 pieces by myself.

We then went to the Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream counter, where my children were each given a sample. They love Dippin’ Dots.

Next, we made our way to the meat department. I tried both the sweet and spicy beef jerky and the mild beef jerky. Both were good, but the flavor of the sweet and spicy was unbelievable. Buc-ee’s sells buffalo, turkey, and venison jerky. They also sell different types of cheese, too. I stuck with the beef.

We walked around the store and visited the restrooms. They were just as ‘fabulous’ as the billboards said they would be: Hand sanitizer in each (rather large and roomy) stall. Employees wiping counters clean. Automatic paper towel dispensers that dispense enough paper towel to actually dry your hands. I actually think the word fabulous is an understatement. ALL restrooms should be kept this clean.

After visiting the restrooms, we stopped to get drinks. There are lots of fountain drinks to choose from, with add-in flavors available. You also get to choose between cubed or crushed ice. Next to the cold beverage station, you have a choice of hot beverages: coffee and cappuccino. I choose a coffee, which was served super fresh. My friend choose an iced/blended coffee, which was specialty made at the coffee counter. Both were reasonably priced, mine costing just $1.59 while my friend’s specialty drink was just $2.99.

The store also offers snacks, pickled items, and gifts/souvenirs. A separate Outdoor Shop is next door, offering B-B-Q pits, swings, camping gear, etc. It truly is a one-stop-shop!

*I do have one complaint. I made the mistake of buying pre-packaged beef jerky instead of the fresh jerky. They sell it both ways. The jerky sold at the meat counter is in big ‘slabs’. I rather the small pieces that are sold in the bags, hanging on the shelf. I am sure it is still fresh in the package, but I was very disappointed once I got home.  I was looking forward to eatting some of the great tasting sweet and spicy jerky I tasted in the store. Totally different. The bagged beef jerky is soft and mushy. The beef jerky I tasted in the store was dry….like jerky. I couldn’t even break the jerky I bought today. It’s that soft. In the store, the employees actually break you a sample. They would never be able to break what I have here. Each bag cost $7.99 and contains 4 ounces of meat. (Yes it is pricy, but worth it if it tastes like the fresh one in the store.) I think it’s $29.99 per pound. I feel like I wasted my money today. I will never eat the jerky I have here. It’s actually gross! If you go, just be sure to buy the fresh jerky sold at the counter. You can always break it into small pieces at home!


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