Sneak peek at new Buc-ee’s opening in Richmond, Kentucky
Texas has planted its flag in Kentucky and weary travelers are excited: Buc-ee’s is opening and the Herald-Leader got a sneak peek at what’s in store.
The new travel center in Richmond, the first of three Buc-ee’s to open in Kentucky, will open April 19 at 1013 Buc-ee’s Boulevard, just off I-75 at exit 83.
Finding the new travel center is easy: You can’t miss the signs with the giant smiling beaver. Or the 120 gas pumps.
But navigating to and from the travel center can be a bit tricky. The entrance is down Duncannon Lane on the southeast corner of the interchange and the access road behind the store has not one but two roundabouts.
But fans of Buc-ee’s will tell you that it’s worth a little extra effort to get cheap gas. Just make sure you plan for extra time — although you could get in and out quickly, you probably won’t.
“Oh, I will delay your schedule, absolutely,” said Josh Smith, Buc-ee’s Director of Operations for the Southeast Region.
That’s because the 53,000-square-foot store is “sensory overload,” he said.
First, there’s the smell, sweet (from the fudge and candied nuts made on-site) and a bit smokey (from the Texas brisket.) And the friendly people.
Then there’s just so much stuff.
Running to the lake and need a fancy cooler? Buc-ee’s has them. Forgot to buy a Mother’s Day/birthday/anniversary present? You can do all of your shopping there. Need a gift for a baby shower? You can pick between baby gear with the Buc-ee’s logo or without.
What if you just want something to eat? There are grab-and-go barbecue sandwiches (pulled pork, brisket and turkey), burritos and wraps, cold sandwiches, salads, fruit cups, cinnamon rolls, muffins, pastries and kolaches (a kind of sweet bread with sausage in the middle) as well as snack items.
Here are Smith’s tips to get you through your first Buc-ee’s experience:
▪ First, you have to visit the bathrooms. Buc-ee’s bills them as the world’s cleanest and they don’t disappoint. Each of the more than two dozen toilets in the ladies’ room, for instance, is in its own room with a door, not just a stall. And there’s an attendant in there 24/7 cleaning constantly.
▪ Take a stroll around the store. Look for the cowhides, the home decor, the toys, the sporting goods, the dog accessories … You are guaranteed to find something you have never seen before in that place if you look long enough.
“Then you realize your 15 minute gas station/use the restroom stop has turned into an hour. That means we’ve done our job,” Smith said. “It’s a tourism stop in itself.”
▪ Grab a bag of Beaver Nuggets. “They are our Number One selling item,” Smith said.
Beaver Nuggets are popcorn coated with brown sugar and stuff. They’re buttery and sweet and just salty enough.
And probably more than a bit addictive, said Randy Pauly, Buc-ee’s Director of Bar-b-Que. He’s a Texas native who keeps the brand’s barbecue game on point.
“It’s legit. I’ll put our brisket up against anybody’s,” Pauly said.
His food advice: “A brisket sandwich and a bag of Beaver Nuggets and you’re winning.” Now that he’s discovered Kentucky’s Ale-8-One, he’s added that to his perfect combo.
There are few things that Buc-ee’s does not have: Seating. Although there’s plenty off food and drinks, it’s all meant to be eaten on the go, so there isn’t anyplace to sit down inside or out other than your car.
Also, there are no EV charging stations.
Where: 1013 Buc-ee’s Boulevard off Duncannon Lane, Richmond, at exit 83 on I-75
What: Travel center grand opening
When: 11 a.m. April 19, doors open at 6 a.m.