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Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly


This "Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly" is a review of the restaurant at the Petro Stopping Center in Kenly, NC, USA, based upon our own expectations of what a restaurant that caters to professional truck drivers of commercial motor vehicles should be like -- as well as our own preferences in foodstuffs.

This location was formerly a TA (TravelCenters of America) facility. It had been a long time since Mike had been there. He said that the restaurant (which is now an Iron Skillet restaurant) was completely redone since the last time he had visited..



Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

Date: 8/17/2010

Location: Petro Stopping Center, Kenly, NC, I-95, exit 106



Overall facility: Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

  • The restaurant had counter seating, booth seating and table seating. Most of the tables were pushed together for large parties.
  • The buffet looked very modern and brand new.
  • On this day, we had dinner from the buffet.
  • Diners may also order from the menu.




Pros: Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

  • There was plenty of just about everything when we came through on the hot bar and soup and salad bar. There were two or three varieties of breads, like rolls and corn bread. We especially liked having real butter to spread on our rolls.
  • Our waitress, Christy, was friendly, genuinely concerned about how our meals tasted, and engaging. Except for one initial seemingly long wait for Mike's glass to be refilled, we never again had a problem. In fact, some time after refilling Mike's first glass, Christy brought a second glass of water for both of us. She was not the only one to attend to our table. Our empty dishes were whisked away quickly.
  • When we placed our drink order, Mike specifically requested that the lemon be brought in a separate container (instead of in our drinks or perched on the edge of the glasses). Our drinks and lemon arrived as requested.
  • Mike had fried chicken; roast beef in gravy; kielbasa-style sausage with green peppers and onions; collard greens; rice and gravy; and two rolls on his first hot bar trip. On his second trip, he got pork loin, more roast beef in gravy, more of the sausage dish, and two rolls.
  • Vicki had fried chicken, roast beef in gravy, pork loin, pasta alfredo, mashed potatoes, green beans and green peas from the hot bar.
  • The roast beef in gravy was excellent. We noted especially how the gravy complimented the beef instead of covering over it. Mike said that of all the entrees on the hot bar, the roast beef was the best.
  • We had never before seen pork loin offered on a truck stop buffet. It was kept moist by a kitchen worker who occasionally poured au jus or broth over it. It was delicately flavored and not too salty, just the way it should be.
  • Mike's salad had lettuce, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, diced hard boiled egg, shredded cheddar cheese, sunflower kernels, salad dressing and chow mein noodles.
  • Vicki's salad had lettuce, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, carrot matchsticks, shredded cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg, sunflower kernels and cottage cheese.
  • There were two types of dessert: banana cream pudding and a cakey brownie. Both were absolutely delicious. Vicki told our waitress, Christy, that that was the best banana cream pudding she had ever had in a truck stop restaurant. Yum!
  • While we were there, one of the workers mopped part of the floor near us (which didn't even look like it needed to be mopped). To us, this indicates the pride that the workers take in their workplace.


Photos, Part 1: Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

The plate on the left was what Mike got on his first trip to the hot bar at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC. The plate on the right had his salad. Notice the real butter in the cup. This had been in a special crock to keep it cold. The plate on the left was what Mike got on his first trip to the hot bar at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC. The plate on the right had his salad. Notice the real butter in the cup. This had been in a special crock to keep it cold.

The plate on the left had Vicki's salad and the plate on the right contained items from her first visit to the hot bar at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC. The plate on the left had Vicki's salad and the plate on the right contained items from her first visit to the hot bar at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC.


Photos, Part 2: Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

This plate contained items Mike got on his second visit to the hot bar at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC. While not seen, Vicki also visited the hot bar a second time, getting more roast beef and gravy and a roll. This plate contained items Mike got on his second visit to the hot bar at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC.
While not seen, Vicki also visited the hot bar a second time, getting more roast beef and gravy and a roll.

Vicki made this photo a little larger so you can see the detail of the desserts Mike got: a cake-like brownie on top and banana cream pudding on the bottom. She had smaller portions of both. This was the best banana cream pudding we've ever had in a truckstop restaurant. These desserts were obtained at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC. Vicki made this photo a little larger so you can see the detail of the desserts Mike got: a cake-like brownie on top and banana cream pudding on the bottom. She had smaller portions of both. This was the best banana cream pudding we've ever had in a truckstop restaurant. These desserts were obtained at at the Petro Iron Skillet Restaurant in Kenly, NC.




Cons, Part 1: Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

  • Vicki wished that the hot pasta dish had been macaroni and cheese instead of pasta alfredo.
  • We think it should be standard protocol for restaurants featuring fried chicken on their buffets to automatically bring extra napkins instead of making customers ask for them. Mike did have to ask for them.
  • Vicki noted that the green beans and green peas needed a little seasoning. A dash of salt remedied that situation. Mike noted that the fried chicken needed a little seasoning, too, although he did not add salt to his meat.
  • Although perhaps designed to create ambience, it was a little dark in the restaurant. The light on the wall at our table was blue.


Cons, Part 2: Restaurant Review Petro North Carolina Kenly

  • The biggest negative of our experience at this restaurant -- which we noticed other customers having problems with, too -- was the angle or position of the "sneezeguards" on the bars. It was extremely difficult for short-armed customers like Vicki to reach the items farthest away from where they stood to get their food. When Vicki reached for an item at the back of the salad bar, the sneezeguard was literally at her throat, blocking reaching any farther from a standing position. Vicki mentioned this to Christy who said that she herself has trouble reaching items in the back because of the sneezeguards. Supposedly, there is some kind of rule that they have to follow about the angle, although Vicki noticed that not all of the guards were at the same angle. There are signs posted on both the hot and cold sides of the bar NOT to adjust the sneezeguards. Mike asked if it was possible for customers to go behind the bar to get hard-to-reach items. Christy said that customers could request that workers get hard-to-reach items. That would be inconvenient for both customers and restaurant staff. We really think that management needs to address this situation since the Petro in Mebane, NC, does not have this problem! For all of the beauty of the new marble-like bar and beautiful glass sneezeguards, the inconvenience to customers of the sneezeguard positions is sure to have a negative impact on repeat business.


Overall grade for this restaurant at this facility on a scale of A+ to F- (with A+ being the best, F- being the worst): A-








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