Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Wawa!

It was 45 years ago today that Wawa opened its first store in the Folsom section of Ridley Township, PA. From those humble beginnings the convenience store chain has grown into one of the nation's Top 10 coffee sellers and the third-largest food merchant in the region, behind only supermarket giants Acme and Shoprite.

These days I live about 20-30 minutes (depending upon traffic) from the closest Wawa, unlike my days spent in South Jersey and Bucks County, PA when any trip I made from my home took me past three or more of the establishments in the first five minutes.

But even a 45-minute roundtrip is preferable to my dark days spent in Pittsburgh's Wawa-less no man's land where questions like "Where's the nearest Wawa?" were met with an open-mouth and vacant stare (the results of too much Sheetz or 7-11 coffee I assume).

Though my favorite items can change as quickly as the weather here in Wawa's Northeast/Mid-Atlantic stronghold, here are my current faves:
  • Wawa Coffee. It goes without saying that I get a cup of Wawa coffee eight out of ten trips to the convenience giant. It's why I started going there in the first place – that and to pick up a Philly Inquirer. My standard blend used to be half-regular/half-hazelnut but these days I'm all about the Kona. And for my money, nothing beats a cup of Wawa coffee and a cream donut from Crust & Crumb located in Bay Village on LBI. (If you haven't seen it yet check out video from my Christmas day visit to Wawa.)
  • Italian Hoagie with provolone, a little mayo, grated parmesan. While the rolls used at nearby MD locations don't match the Amoroso's rolls used in the Delaware Valley, a Wawa hoagie is still hard to beat as the perfect lunch or dinner when you're on the road or on the way to the drive-in.
  • Diet Lemonade Ice Tea. Commonly referred to as an "Arnold Palmer" this is a slightly sweet, refreshing drink that packs a nice caffeine punch. Perfect for lunch on summer days spent on the beach at LBI where the closest Wawa is just two short blocks away.
What's your favorite Wawa item?


Synd-e said...

#1: Coffee! Always consistently tasty and fresh.

#2: Diet Raspberry Iced Tea! Just wish they sold it in half-gallons instead of just 16oz. bottles.

#3: Turkey Sausage with Egg Whites on a Bagel breakfast sandwiches! I luves me some breakfast sandwiches, and this one comes with at least a little less food guilt.

Liz said...

I live in Connecticut, and the nearest Wawa is pretty far away. So I only get to go when I travel to the Philly area to visit family. But Wawa made its impression on me during my early days growing up in Havertown. When my family moved to Maine when I was seven, I refused to stop using the word Hoagie, though everyone looked at me like I was nuts.

#1: Tuna Hoagie/Chicken Salad Hoagie. They're never as good as they are from Wawa. Their sandwich computers, eight million fixings and add-ons, and their awesome bread make any Wawa sub hard to beat, but the tuna and chicken salad hoagies are my favorites.

#2: Giant pickles. Until this past Christmas, I hadn't had one from Wawa in years, but I remember the plexi-glass containers they used to be in so well. My recent pickle lived up to my memories.

Plus, their prepared snacks are pretty great. Someone tell Wawa that Connecticut is in desperate need of good hoagies and above par convenience store fare. Connecticut needs Wawa!

Unknown said...

I miss Wawa. Seems like the Ro-Fo has muscled them out of Baltimore. When I lived in Cecil Co. a friend turned me on to their breakfast bicuits and gravy. They don't list it on the menu but they have it until they run out (which is always early). For the price there is not another bik/grav that comes close.
Happy Birthday Wawa.

Dan said...

Nice to see Wawa getting some love. I have heard before about their biscuits and gravy. Gotta love the fact you have to be in the know to order it off menu... sorta like the pork roll, egg and cheese on a kaiser roll at some of the stores. Having an incredibly cruddy day today so these stories of Wawa-love are bringing a much needed smile to my face.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I live near no Wawa, sniff! I do like hearing Dan profess the love for Kona however. I loves me some Kona. Probably my favorite coffee of all time.

Louis Fowler said...

I am pretty bummed I never got a Wa-Wa Italian Hoagie.


I think you should go shoot some more secret videos so I can get a better sense of what it's like to be in a Wawa. Go to a whooooooole bunch.

Sita said...

Nice recipe thanks! You could also refer to for more foodie info!

Anonymous said...

Porkroll egg and cheese on kaiser roll. I live in NH now and there are no WaWa's around here anywhere but growing up in NJ I was born and raised on the stuff.

Joh said...

I'm from Massachusetts - not even sure where the nearest 7-11 was to my hometown. But while on my college rowing team, we had to travel to Philly and Jersey for several regattas. And every trip home to the Bronx required a stop at a Wawa.
I have to say that the coffee is top-notch, and they had a turkey sandwich that used to glow like a beacon after getting up at 4am to race a boat down a river.

Anonymous said...

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