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Gas Full Service serves premium-grade food

Gas Full Service Restaurant is the original mom-and-pop, with Ben Loose and 16-year-old son Jesse in the kitchen while wife Lindy and older son, Davis, 19, take care of orders in the front.

But Gas is not just any mom-and-pop.

From its relatively small space in a former filling station on Anastasia Boulevard, the restaurant has earned world acclaim for its unique brand of Southern comfort food, including the famous jalapeno popper burger: a 1/2-pound burger of hand-ground beef stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapenos, breaded and deep fried.

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This is retro road-stand food at its finest, with the atmosphere to match. The restaurant recalls classic rock and roll with a motif of black, white and red against corrugated aluminum paneling. Vintage signs pay homage to old gasoline brands, as well as newer ones advertising the many local craft brews Gas carries on tap.

Gas Full Service Restaurant’s shrimp and grits.

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The restaurant has been featured in a number of broadcast shows on the Cooking Channel and Food Network, including “Junk Food Flip” and “Ginormous Food.”

“And then things really went off big,” said Lindy.

Husband and wife both began their careers in and around the restaurant industry: she in Ocala; he in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After working in several outfits that became too corporate for his liking, in 2011 Ben decided to open Gas to take things back to basics: from-scratch, in-house food preparation and friendly service in a family-style establishment (the couple’s two sons were “not as helpful,” Lindy said with a laugh, until they matured a bit — now both earn a cut of the profits through their side jobs).

Davis, a graduate of St. Augustine High School, is also an aspiring country-western musician.

The accidental burger that became a Gas staple

If Ben had to describe his style of cooking, it would be “just playing around in the kitchen, whatever feels good.”

That famous jalapeno popper burger, for instance?

“That was kind of an accident,” explained Ben.

To use up odds-and-ends ingredients leftover from other dishes, Ben used to come up with a “stuffed burger of the day.”