Jun 27, 2010

Filling Up At Filling Station

Food: Some breakfast, but mostly coffee shop fair and full lunch menu
Service: Quick and quite friendly. Love that there were lots of fast-paced workers there, not just a couple lethargic teens. Almost felt like the restaurant was their co-op. 
Atmosphere: Laid back coffee shop meets bustling deli
Price: Competitive coffeehouse and deli sandwich prices
Yet to be determined 

I'd describe The Filling Station as more coffee shop than breakfast spot, and more lunch spot than coffee shop.

We went last weekend at about 11:30, not sure, ourselves, whether we wanted breakfast or lunch. Figured I'd take a look at the menu and let something tasty-sounding make my mind up for me. Lunch won out, but I got a coffee just because I saw they use Broadway beans and I wanted the caffeine. 

I don't have any idea how anyone could have a negative thing to say about the digs at The Filling Station. It's a retro-themed gas station garage set in the southeast point of a funny, triangular strip of land just east of Gillham. The exterior still feels like an actual filling station, only lacking its gas pumps which are now replaced with a relaxing and pleasant-looking patio filled with comfy chairs and tables under umbrellas. Separating the patio and interior of the building are garage door style windows which can be raised and lowered for maximum outdoor exposure. Both fitting for the type of building and for their intended purpose.

On their website, The Filling Station describes itself as "KC's only coffee garage - where we pride ourselves in the art & knowledge of coffee, and our rockin' menu!" Their emphasis on coffee definitely shows. I'm a big supporter of Broadway Roastery, who I think serves up some of the richest, smoothest tasting brew in the city, so I took Filling Station's use of Broadway beans to be a sign of promising like-mindedness. I ordered up a cup of their drip, which came served in a wide-mouthed mug and tasted every bit as good as promised. And when the torrential downpour let loose on us shortly after sitting down with my steaming cup of joe, it sipped doubly pleasing. On a subsequent trip, I also had a double macchiato which was sublime, though verged on the thin side.

Many people also know the filling station for its incredible fresh juices, which are made from whole fruit, juiced to order, right there on the premises. Elizabeth ordered up the Beastie Beet - a magenta combination of beet, apple, orange and lime juices. Not being a fan of the underlying dirty taste beets have, it wasn't my fav because that was the flavor that dominated, but the fresh squeeze was totally appealing and I look forward to returning and trying other selections from the menu.

My sandwich selection was the grilled salami - a panini pressed pile of soft, herby foccocia*, salami, tomato, red onion slices, plenty of tender green spinach leaves, horseradish pepper mayo and pepperjack cheese. It's a salty, extremely flavorful mouthful. The salami is piled high, as is the spinach. I was almost concerned with the amount of foliage layered into this sandwich, but it was so pleasantly tender, I found it quite delicious. [*Foccocia lives on the same list with croissants, naan and my mom's Pumpkin bread, of breads I'd eat until causing myself bodily harm if given an infinite supply.] Overall, an extremely flavorful and enjoyable sandwich.

I also gobbled some of a Blue T wrap: a large, soft wheat tortilla filled with smoked turkey, spring greens, tomato, onion, swiss cheese, garlic herb cream cheese and "Blue Koi dressing." Often, I find warps displeasing, I think because the warp itself doesn't blend well, texturally, with the other ingredients. Soft bread is much better in this regard. But that's where Filling station is ahead of the "wrap game", because their cream cheese really binds the wrap together with the other inner ingredients. That cream cheese, with the added Blue Koi dressing made this easily one of the best cold cut-filled wraps I've ever had.

I asked about the ingredients of the Blue Koi dressing, intrigued by its name. Turns out it's made especially for The Filling Station by Blue Koi on 39th street (my review). It's a soy-based dressing with basil and ginger for sure. The employee (or should I call her an attendant?) said customers tend to either love it or hate it, but no one is lukewarm about it. I was hot for it. Very tasty.

The soup of the day was chicken with dumplings, a favorite of mine from the comfort soups category, so at $3, I decided to give a cup of it a try and ended up enjoying it just fine. The broth was light and relatively clear, with deliciously textural veggies - carrot, celery and onion. The chicken was decent andthe dumplings were nice little puffs of dense breadiness. Their shapes were funny, like white cheese curds.But I liked them all the same.

A final, but not unimportant, aspect of the lunch were the chips that came on the side - one of my favorite brands, Miss Vicker's - which are always nicely crunchy and heavily seasoned. My place of work stocks these at the coffee bar for $1 and I have a daily mental battle at 3:00 about whether or not I deserve them as a treat. A quality product, adding that much sought-after crunch to our lunch.

Start to finish, this was quite the tasty occasion. All the gals behind the counter and cleaning up the dining room were remarkably friendly, which adds to the entire vibe of the bright, sunny restaurant. 

I'm reserving rating Filling Station because I feel that I need to have a more breakfasty experience there before making a call, but so far things are looking quite good and if you need to pick out a lunch spot this week or weekend, I highly suggest you keep it in  mind.

Filling Station on Urbanspoon


abruce said...

I've always thought it looked like a neat place and was curious whether they had more than just coffee there. What about gluten free options? Anything?

KCNapkins Guy said...

For gluten-free, they have a great selection of salads that should work. But I bet the selections are extremely limited beyond that :(

Elizabeth said...

Amanda, I bet they might have a couple of g-free options just based on my experience there. Would definitely be worth looking into! I'll ask them next time I'm there on my office weekly juice run! :)

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