Lunchtime tourist

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October 18, 2004 // UPDATED 4:24 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

Celebrity autographs at Bobby & Steve's

1221 Washington Ave. S

As one of the few after-hours auto spots Downtown -- and located strategically in the shadow of the Dome, just off Interstate-35W -- Bobby & Steve's Auto World is the place to be after events. And I don't just mean for us commoners -- this upscale, innovative gas retailer attracts celebrities, too.

Pulling up to the video display pumps in front of the station's modern architecture, there's no mistaking this as an ordinary "gas station."

Exuberant clerks have been known to perform random acts of kindness such as washing windshields and, once you're inside, they're the most cheerful sales associates you'll encounter.

This two-story architect-designed facility is the epitome of a convenience store. Bobby & Steve's stocks everything from the mundane to Coca-Cola collectibles to fine art prints by Ken Zylla featuring vintage cars in sentimental settings.

The upstairs balcony is designed like an old-fashioned diner with shiny vinyl booths and a 1957 Chevy that rotates on a base so you can fully appreciate its design in the round.

But showcased above the coolers on the main floor are framed signatures by local and international celebrities. Minnesota Twins Tony Oliva, Torii Hunter and Paul Molitor have all left their marks here.

Most signed their John Hancock on a Bobby & Steve's t-shirt, which are framed along with a photo of the celebrity and sales associates on staff that evening. Other autographs include NBA star Trent Tucker, Vikings Onterio Smith and Daunte Culpepper, and professional wrestling champ Kurt Angle. In addition to sports figures, there are musicians Dru Hill, Brooks & Dunn, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith (t-shirt depicted at left), not to mention Senator Mark Dayton and The Patriot radio station host Hugh Hewitt.

So the next time you need to "fill 'er up," head over to this unusual petroleum distributor and maybe you'll get to rub elbows with the famous.

LUNCH TIP: The in-house Chevy Grill serves up Philly steak sandwiches and other short orders. If the sun's out, grab a picnic table on the outdoor deck with its exceptional skyline view.

Send your tips to thelunchtimetourist@hotmail.com.