Once you take a bite of a Saroki’s crispy chicken tender, any less-than-glowing preconceptions you may have had of food sold at gas stations will dissolve in your tastebuds.
“When a lot of people think of buying food at gas stations, they think of something you unwrap and put in a microwave,” said Todd Saroki, Chief Executive Officer of Saroki’s Crispy Chicken & Pizza. “Our food is incredibly delicious and made from high-quality ingredients. It’s entirely different than what most people expect to find when they go inside to pay for their fuel.”
The newest Saroki’s eatery is located on the northeast corner of Haggerty and Ford roads in Canton, inside the shiny new Shell station.
Saroki’s’ quality is reflected in its growth. Canton is the seventh location Saroki has opened since 2011.
“We’ve only been open three weeks in Canton, but the feedback we’ve received has been great,” said Saroki. “We love Canton; there’s so much here. We’re confident the people will support us here like they have in the other communities we’ve opened stores. So far, so good.
“There is so much competition now among gas stations, the owners of these facilities want to offer their customers more than their competitor. That’s one reason why we’re growing as fast as we are, along with the quality of our food. I’m getting calls every week from gas stations owners reaching out to me, looking to upgrade their establishments with our food.”
Saroki emphasized his business philosophy includes giving back to the community.
“We make it a point to connect with schools and nonprofit organizations in the communities we serve to offer fundraising programs,” said Saroki, who was a member of multiple state championship-caliber football teams at Walled Lake Western.
Convenience meets quality
Promoting its products with the slogan “Where convenience meets quality”, Saroki’s’s menu is topped by several variations of fried chicken (hand-battered and breaded), brick-oven-baked pizza, salads, subs and side dishes, including breadsticks and potato wedges.
Saroki is a certified chef who takes pride in using nothing but the healthiest ingredients.
“For instance, our pizza crust contains zero sugar; it’s super clean,” he said.
Todd Saroki started cooking while in college when his father opened a small kitchen in the family’s Downriver convenience store.
“It did really, really well,” he said. “People loved the food.”
That success led to a request to open a kitchen in a metro-Detroit gas station, which prospered, leading to the opening of a Saroki’s in a spacious fueling business in Royal Oak in 2016.
Todd Saroki’s 80-hour work weeks were paying off.
He now has six locations in suburban Detroit and one in Haslett, a suburb of Lansing.
“Our chicken tenders put us on the map, but I feel the reason people keep coming back is the quality of our food,” he said.