A life of convenience

They call them convenience stores for a reason: gas, a Red Bull, some Advil and a frozen burrito. But not all convenience stores offer the same conveniences.

For instance, a couple of Diamond Shamrocks in Denver, including the one at 255 Speer Boulevard, sell fresh-baked kolaches. That's not something you see every day (unless you work this Diamond Shamrock, of course).

Kolaches are an Eastern European specialty, essentially a meal inside a sweet bun. I first discovered them at the Kolache Factory, 92 Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood (a Best of Denver award winner in 2008 and 2009). Diamond Shamrock offers several delicious greasy varieties (all at two for $3), including a turkey and Swiss, a jalapeno cheese and sausage, and an Italian. They're an unusual alternative from the hot dogs, burritos and donuts available at most convenience stores. You'll go Kolache Krazy, as the sign says.

Still hungry? Head over to the Conoco station at 785 Colorado Boulevard for a giant cinnamon roll from the world-famous Johnson's Corner, about an hour north of Denver on I-25. A bun runs runs $3.39, which is far less than you'd pay for gas to make the drive. And it's good -- especially if you heat it up after taking off the plastic wrap.

Although Johnson's Corner markets its buns in dozens of convenience stores around Colorado and in surrounding states, this tiny Conoco just got them in about two months ago, and has advertised them ever since on its outside marquee.

All convenience stores are convenient. Only a few rise above that. So choose wisely, my friends. Choose wisely.

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