Three graduates of Wake Forest University are breathing new life into a historic service-station building about a half-mile from campus at 1231 Polo Road.
Campus Gas & Service was for years an auto-service shop popular with Wake students and the Oak Crest neighborhood. Now the building has been turned into a bar and grill.
The new Campus Gas is a venture by Will Volker, John Clowney and Ben Ingold, who met as freshmen in 2001 and became good friends. Clowney and Ingold also are founders of Bull City Ciderworks, which has tasting rooms in Durham and Lexington. Volker is the owner of Energy Efficiencies in Raleigh.
Campus Gas opened just before Thanksgiving. It offers beer, wine, hot dogs, sandwiches and more.
Ingold — who played shortstop with Wake Forest baseball and the Arizona Athletics minor-league team — said he and his partners approached the auto-shop owner recently when they were looking to open a place near campus. “As former Deacon Demons, we wanted something around campus and there weren’t a lot of options,” he said. “And this property has been a part of the community for such a long time.”
The 1965 building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally a Phillips 66 station, and it features Phillips’ triangular Harlequin “bat-wing” canopy. “We loved the architecture of the building, so we wanted to keep that,” Ingold said.
Ingold said he will be the hands-on partner for Campus Gas, and his wife, Cara, is serving as a manager.
Campus Gas is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., but Ingold said he expects to expand the hours in the future. In addition to the bar and grill, it also has a bottle shop with a selection of N.C. and other craft beers as well as wine. It has seating for about 60 inside and 60 outside.
The bar has 20 taps. Four are for house beers made by Four Saints Brewing in Asheboro — a blonde, an IPA, a hefeweizen and a stout. “And we’ll always have two Bull City ciders rolling,” Ingold said.
Among the nonalcoholic beverages is the local Updog Kombucha.
The grill menu is small. It includes a BLT ($8.50), avocado egg salad ($8), grilled pimento cheese ($7) and pimento-cheese and Carolina all-beef dogs ($4 or 2 for $7).
The BLT features house-made candied bacon and sourdough bread. The slaw and pimento cheese also are made in-house, as is the hot-dog chili, which is laced with Campus Gas’ house IPA.
People can add chips for $1, but there are no fries, because the kitchen doesn’t have a deep fryer.
Milkshakes ($6) come in vanilla, salted caramel and maple bourbon.