A good place to stop
How did a truck stop in the tiny town of Ivanhoe get placed on a national ‘foodies’ guide? For one thing, being situated on two highways puts the 19 & 75 Filling Station in the crosshairs of truckers traveling across the US
If you want good food, go to where you see a lot of trucks parked.
A national website, truckerpath.com, has listed the 19 & 75 Filling Station in Ivanhoe as a good place to stop.
Marty Sterzinger, owner of 19&75 Filling Station, figures the truckers hauling wind equipment across the country put in a good word for his restaurant, which in October was placed on Trucker Path’s annual list of the “Top 100 Truck Stops in the U.S. & Canada.”
Sterzinger said he received a message last month from someone from truckerpath.com wanting to verify the address.
“I thought it was a prank and disregarded it,” he said. “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere.”
After receiving an email informing him that he made the list, Sterzinger finally believed it.
Listed as No. 5, Truckerpath.com wrote, “Located in Ivanhoe, Minn., 19&75 Filling Station is known for good food and great service. Not only does this truck stop use fresh ingredients, but even its enchilada and tartar sauces are homemade. Dessert is not to be missed, although you might have a hard time choosing between the freshly-made pies and famous bread pudding.
“It’s not often a business in the radius of 25 miles of Marshall would be recognized nationally,” Sterzinger said. “I guess it’s a compliment.”
Sterzinger saw steady business this summer from truckers carrying wind equipment traveling from Florida, Georgia, Washington.
He figures professional truckers know their stuff and what makes up a good truck stop.
“We have room for 17 trucks,” Sterzinger said. “It’s peaceful and quiet.”
And you can’t beat the food.
“Everything’s fresh — not canned,” he said. “A lot of places, everything’s bagged, out of the freezer and into warmers and microwaves. We have the infrastructure.”
Daily specials — listed on its Facebook page — could be taco salad or hard or soft-shell tacos with refried beans or a pork chop dinner with mashed potatoes, candied carrots and a dinner roll. Another specialty is tater tot hot dish with toast.
The cafe currently serves breakfast and lunch and closes at 2 p.m., but Sterzinger would like to expand the business to offer dinners ala the old Club 59, Mediterranean and Brick Manor restaurants.
“They are things of the past, unfortunately,” he said.
Sterzinger remembers going to those places when he was younger.
He grew up in the Ivanhoe area and came back to take care of his mom in 2012. In 2013, he bought the Sinclair gas station which had been dormant for a decade.
“I brought it back to life,” he said. “We renovated it from the inside out.”
The cafe is decorated in 1950s and 1960s style, but the kitchen is top of the line with a cutting edge self-cleaning ventilation system.
“It’s a smart building, so it takes care of itself,” said Sterzinger, who is a former IT executive.
The stools and counter are from the old Woolworth’s soda fountain when it was on Main Street in Marshall.
“I remember going to Woolworth’s with Grandma and then we would go to Gag’s Rexall Drug and Millie’s Attic,” he said.
Sterzinger said the summer was busy but knows it will slow down in the winter. He is looking forward to snowmobilers using the nearby groomed snowmobile trails and then stopping in for a bite.
And then there is always steady traffic from the over-the-road truckers.
For more information, visit https://truckerpath.com/blog/a-foodies-guide-to-americas-best-truck-stops/