Bringing Flavor and Flair to Gas a Station

At Che Butter Jonez, eclectic food brings nostalgia and new tastes.

December 11, 2023

(This article first appeared in the December issue of NACS Magazine, out now.)

There was a lot going on at the NACS Show. In one of the general sessions, NACS 2022-23 Chair Don Rhodes sat down with three passionate road trippers to talk about their experiences and how the nearly 3,000 people in the audience could create customer experiences that would lead travelers to the door and inside the store.

The discussion was free form. It included Stephanie Stuckey, chair, Stuckey’s Corp.; Stafford Shurden, creator of Gas Station Tailgate Review; and me, Al Hebert, Gas Station Gourmet.

After the session the three of us decided to take a mini road trip. Stephanie suggested Che Butter Jonez in Atlanta.

Husband and wife team Malik Rhasaan and Detric Fox-Quinlan own this unique eatery located next to a Chevron station.

“We started our business as a food truck. We opened in 2018. I knew nothing about the business, but it was something we discussed in the past, as Detric had been begging me to open a restaurant early on in our courtship,” said Malik.

Neither Malik nor Detric had experience in the food industry. He came from the world of social justice and she was working for a biopharma company. The die was cast when Detric decided to leave her job. The couple used their savings to purchase a food truck the following day.

On June 5, 2021, Che Butter Jonez opened in a brick-and-mortar location. The transition from food truck to restaurant was smooth.

“I’m from South Jamaica, Queens, the most diverse place in the world, and that’s what I bring with me to Atlanta. My menu is Queens inspired. It’s reflective of all of the food and culture I experienced growing up. It’s embedded in me, so I’m sharing a piece of me in every entree I create,” Malik said. “It’s been great introducing people to flavor profiles they never knew they needed.” Menu items include a salmon pita, a lamb burger and a pastrami breakfast sandwich, which Stafford and I agreed was our favorite. The caramelized broccoli was out-of-this-world delicious and ready in ten minutes. It was fresh, fast and very affordable.

Malik knows people are deeply connected to food. “Food should be comforting and have nostalgia attached. Food is connected to people’s emotions, and luckily for me, our customers find comfort in my food. Many come to decompress, and I watch them let all of the pains of the day disappear through a great meal. It’s satisfying for them and for me. We’re providing a service that taps into a need of our customers.”

To continue reading, check out the latest issue of NACS Magazine.