All Hail the King of Ribs

A recent conversation with Louisiana food authority Poppy Tooker, host of the wonderful radio show and podcast “Louisiana Eats,” reminded me of one element of Louisiana’s food culture that often goes under-appreciated: It’s possible to get some pretty great food at gas stations in Louisiana. In the Shreveport-Bossier area, a few personal favorites are: boudin-stuffed kolaches from Crispy Donut (attached to the Chevron Food Mart on Hollywood Ave.), burgers and fried catfish plate lunches from Country Junction in Benton, and barbecue plate lunches from Lakeside Grocery and Barbecue.

A plate of ribs from the King of Ribs
A rib plate from the King of Ribs in Shreveport

One gas station, in particular, stands out for me. Inside of the AM-PM convenience store at the corner of Youree Drive and East Washington Street in Shreveport, there’s a deli case manned by a soft-spoken, sad-eyed fellow named Roosevelt. But Roosevelt goes by another name when he’s behind the counter: the King of Ribs. For $6.99 you can get a rib plate or lunch special to-go (there’s nowhere to eat on-site) that you’ll need to use both hands to carry. Open the Styrofoam container and you’ll discover large pork ribs that are often still warm from the grill during lunch hour, complete with crispy burnt ends and a nice, pink smoke ring. The plate lunch version comes with fewer ribs, but includes huge portions of collard greens, red beans and rice and hot water cornbread. As I stood and waited on my order to be assembled recently, the King looked me in the eyes and said: “I can’t wait for you to eat this cornbread.” Neither could I. It’s difficult, and dangerous, to eat ribs while driving, FYI.

So, if you find yourself in Shreveport and in need of a meal on-the-go, consider paying a visit to the AM-PM on Youree Drive. And remember, just like the jar atop his deli case reads: “It’s Okay to TIP THE KING…If You Want To.”

AM-PM is located at 502 E. Washington Street in Shreveport. They can be reached by phone at (318) 861-1284.

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