For three years, Obi’s Fillin’ Station has been a St. Augustine favorite for casual dining. The retro gas station vibe and the huge selection of burgers (with toppings from the classic to the unusual) have drawn locals and visitors alike to its beachside location. Just a few months ago, however, Executive Chef Stephen Dill joined the Obi’s ranks and gave the menu an update. Chef Steve has trained in restaurants all over the world (even having an internship at the famed French Laundry) and had his own Japanese/French restaurant out in California (wrap your head around that fusion).
His resume is no joke, so we decided to travel down to Beach Boulevard to meet the chef and see what the new menu was all about. Chef Steve started us off with a showstopper – The Spare Tire. This burger is topped with bacon and American cheese and sandwiched in between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I’ll fully admit to being wary of such a dish, but I was pleasantly surprised. The intense sugar of the doughnut is undercut by the savory burger and the addition of bacon (which is itself both sweet and savory) ties it all together. You’d have to have a stout heart to eat one on your own, but you won’t regret it.
Our next dish was The Rolls Royce, another burger with both classic and atypical elements. The half-pound burger is topped with bleu cheese dressing, smoked bacon, grilled onions, and the signature Obi sauce (which I would have every day if I could). This one, however, is served on a pretzel bun. A pretzel’s natural sweetness is usually masked by coarse salt, but this bun allowed the sweetness to come out and it gave a culinary complexity unexpected in a cheeseburger.
We were next treated to The DeSoto, a Philly ribeye steak sandwich. Though this sandwich is usually served on a hoagie, Chef Steve gave it to us in a wrap instead, which gave a bit of lightness to a traditionally heavy sandwich. The seasoned shaved steak is topped with creamy Swiss cheese and mixed with caramelized onions. If you’re a fan of the Philly Cheesesteak, it will not disappoint.
Though there would be no judgment here if you ate Obi sauce on its own, the best vehicle for it is definitely the Big Block Piston Rings. They’re extra large, panko-crusted crispy onion rings, and they were nearly gone before we finished photographing the food. The onion to batter ratio is ideal, and the crispness is perfect.
Alongside these nearly overwhelming dishes, we were served a wonderfully fresh Wedge Block Salad and a Mango Frozen Beer. Frozen beer is not something I’ve come across before, but I will certainly be seeking it out in the future. It’s chilly and delicious and an amazing protection against the heat of a Florida summer day.
Our experience with the new menu of Chef Steven Dill convinces us that Obi’s Fillin’ Station will maintain its reputation as a delicious spot for casual fare. Their unexpected and unique burgers, classic wraps, and next-level slushies are hard to beat.