Thornton’s Food Shop and Gas Station, open 24 hours a day, was rebranded with “quality fast food, and convenience of self-serve gas” in 1985. This photo taken circa 1985, features regular gasoline for 93 cents, or premium at 97 cents, 79 cent beverages called “super guzzler” and Marlboro cigarettes for $1.23 a pack.
Thornton’s added hot dogs, corn dogs, burritos, chili, soda, slushies and pastries to their store when they replaced E-Z Go in 1985. At night the store was said to “look like a rainbow,” according to the store manager, Henry Smith, at the time.
In 1993 this busy Thornton’s added a Taco Bell to its location. This experimental restaurant- gas station combination, was one of only 19 Thornton mini marts at the time to add a franchised restaurant into it’s customer offerings. It was predicted in a 1993 Forest Park Review article that restaurant franchises opening in high volume mini marts would be a trend in the industry for several years.
The Taco Bell turned out to be “too much hassle” for this location. The chain operated just under a year, before the Tex-Mex chain was replaced with Hot Dog Extreme that served fresh hot dogs, sausage or sandwich.