Whoa There!

Tioga Gas Mart near Yosemite gets customers to slow down for gourmet food and other unexpected delights.

By
Samantha Strong Murphey, Freelance writer

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In the height of the summer, Whoa Nellie Deli does close to 1,000 tickets each day, with an average of three meals per ticket. The store needs a staff of 35, most of whom work exclusively at the deli, to meet the demand. Customers order at the counter and sit where they please, inside or out. Tioga Gas Mart overlooks the pristine waters of Mono Lake.
 
“I feel very fortunate about the location,” Denise says. “I get to live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Eastern Sierras. People from all over the world come to visit every day, which says a lot about the beauty.”
 
On Thursdays and Sundays, a little live music draws big crowds. About a decade ago, a friend of the Donailles asked if he could set up his guitar outside and play. The response was so good, they decided to make it a regular event, free of charge to their customers.
 
Today, world of mouth attracts a variety of musicians, although many of them specialize in folk and bluegrass. They come from Tahoe, San Francisco and Los Angeles to play on the outdoor stage in this stunning setting. Customers can order draft beer and margaritas from the deli counter and listen all evening in the great outdoors. 
 
What’s not to stop for?

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