Gas station food is a whole thing in metro Detroit. After all, it being the Motor City (and being that public transit is abysmal), Detroiters are far more reliant on their cars to get around and thus, having delicious food options available while filling up at the pump is a must.
Now hungry Detroiters in need of a quick sushi roll fix but don’t have the time (or cash) for a formal sit-down experience can hit up Chubby Panda, which quietly opened its takeout kitchen in late October inside the Mobil gas station at 4415 Vernor Highway, across the street from Clark Park.
Chubby Panda is the creation of Hassan Nasrallah, who tells Eater he formerly worked at Townhouse Detroit, helping with the spot’s (no longer available) sushi menu. Prior to that, the Dearborn native says he earned his cheffing chops after several years working in kitchens in Los Angeles and and Las Vegas.
Nasrallah says he’d like to eventually open his own full-scale dining establishment, but in the meantime, he’s giving Detroiters a taste of his skills with a menu of guilty pleasures that include sushi rolls, crunchy tempura crab legs, a shrimp tempura taco, as well as other familiar street food options like chopped cheese (made the “Hassi” way), a loaded gyro plate, and the quintessential Detroit classic, corned beef egg rolls.
Out of respect to metro Detroit’s huge Muslim community that adheres to halal eating practices, the menu at Chubby Panda is 100 percent halal.
Chubby Panda joins a region already teeming with delicious gas food options like the award-winning Taystee’s Burgers (which is on the path to further expansion), tacos, and the beloved Detroit 75 food truck that’s faithfully parked outside a gas station on Fort Street.