Idaho Finds

The Filling Station

June 15, 2016
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The Filling Station

The Filling Station, a gas station turned cafe and eatery, sits along quiet Highway 6 in Troy, population 900. Just a dozen miles east of Moscow, Troy is bordered by cedar trees and the fertile Palouse, with its green and gold rolling hills ripe with wheat and legumes.

Having quickly become the figurative heart of Troy since opening in 2009, The Filling Station provides a cozy meeting place for locals and travelers alike, while boasting a menu full of flavor that also caters to dietary restrictions—low sodium, gluten free and low fat.

Judy Bickford, a long-time cook, moved to Troy after visiting and feeling quickly at home with the small-town pace, the generosity of its residents and the leaning barns that speckle the region. During the facelift of a barn on her property, Judy first met her now-husband Tim, an Idaho renovation expert. Together, they decided to combine their talents to open The Filling Station.

Initially the Bickfords intended to offer only coffee and dessert, but the town’s residents implored them to make The Filling Station a place where they could dine. With Tim’s background in construction and Judy’s cooking skills, they decided to oblige. After more than two years of saving money, applying for appropriate permits, reconstructing the station and crunching the numbers, they opened their doors to diners and coffee drinkers.

Much of the food at The Filling Station is locally sourced, from the huckleberries picked alongside the Clearwater River to the pork from pigs raised in the Bickfords’ own backyard and butchered at the University of Idaho. The Filling Station also supports Landgrove Coffee, a Troy coffee roaster that sells fair-trade beans.

Its menu also caters to local appetites. “The Strom,” for example, was conceived to satisfy bacon-loving Strom Electric employees, a business just down the street. The whole-wheat sandwich is a triple-decker featuring thick slabs of bacon, house-made basil pesto mayo, tomatoes, mixed greens, oil and vinegar.

With the relatively high cost of locally sourced ingredients and labor-intensive food preparation, the Bickfords say running The Filling Station at a profit is a challenge. But as Judy says, “Why do it if it’s not your best?” This commitment to quality arises from the Bickfords’ faith and belief in serving others. For them, that means their mission is to nourish their customers as best they can.

—Michelle Cushing

The Filling Station
502 S. Main St., Troy
Tu–F 5am–6pm,
Sa 8am–4pm


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