Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton

click to enlarge Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton
Madyson Dixon
When we got invited to opening night at Wally’s in Fenton, it was a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to visit an I-44 gas station?

What would we wear?

But it turns out Wally’s is much more than a fill ‘n go. From its towering, retro-themed sign to its endless lines of gas pumps and charging stations, it feels as exotic as a settlement on Mars.

click to enlarge Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton (3)
Madyson Dixon

Inside, it’s 10,000 square feet of stuff your mom never let you get on road trips, from Dr. Pepper cotton candy to ice cream to, well, the Beer Cave.

click to enlarge Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton (6)
Madyson Dixon

Wally’s co-founders have Missouri roots; Michael Rubenstein grew up in Sullivan, and Chad Wallis in Cuba. The first Wally’s, in Pontiac, Illinois was a success, and for the second they chose the site of Fenton’s former Chrysler plant, a mile marker for Rubenstein on road trips to St. Louis as a kid.

click to enlarge Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton (7)
Madyson Dixon

Last night's grand opening made us feel like a kid in a candy store, perusing their 60 different sodas and the 12 flavors of “Sloosh” – a unique take on the slurpee – including Jarrito Mandarin and Pineapple.

click to enlarge Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton (4)
Madyson Dixon

Wally’s also offers beef jerky it processes itself, surprisingly good espresso, and fresh popcorn featuring “seasonal" flavors, including the current one….sour cream and chives.

click to enlarge Wally's Ultra-Extravagant Rest Stop Outside Fenton (2)
Madyson Dixon

The staff, meanwhile, is almost-unnervingly friendly. But the greatest thing about Wally’s – and this is going to sound weird – is the bathrooms. The state of the art, sparkling women’s room has 20 stalls, with sinks featuring hand-motion-activated water, soap and hands dryer, all in one.

We were wise to rent those $3 million diamond cluster earrings from Jennifer Lopez’s jeweler for the occasion. So what if the average clientele will more resemble the Griswolds? Wally’s will make even the most excruciating family road trip bearable.

About The Author

St. Lunacy

St. Lunacy is a Riverfront Times column exploring St. Louis' good, bad, ugly, and thoroughly cuckoobird.
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