For anyone in Chicago who has never heard of Wawa, I bet you are going to Google it and think, "Wait, this is a gas station?" Well, I am here to tell you it is way more than just that. As a Philadelphia native going to school in the Windy City, I often feel an unavoidable nostalgia for this beloved East Coast convenience store.   

First opened in 1964, Wawa is "your all day, every day stop," with over 750 retail stores throughout PA, NJ, DE, MD, VA and FL. Those who are accustomed to having this convenience store nearby will all agree, Wawa is a lifestyle necessity. If this kind of brand loyalty doesn't fully convince you, here are 10 reasons why Chicago needs Wawa.

1. It's open 24/7.

beer, wine
Sherilyn McLean

Wawa stores take convenience to a whole new level by being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A Wawa in Chicago would satisfy your 3 am post-night out in River North cravings. Whether you're an early bird or night owl, Wawa is guaranteed to be there for you.

2. It's affordable.

bread, candy, pastry, chocolate, sweet, cake
Sherilyn McLean

Being on a college budget while also wanting quality food can be hard, but Wawa makes it easier. The store's selection of foods are made fresh, while also being inexpensive – a win-win for the broke and hungry. Because sometimes after a Cubs game, we just want a hot dog that doesn't cost us $6 (at Wawa it's only $1.49).

3. The kiosks.

bacon, sandwich
Sherilyn McLean

Wawa's kiosk stations allow you to customize your food items and specialty drinks at your fingertip. So if you're a picky eater, have diet restrictions, allergies, or just like visually selecting what goes on your food, Wawa's built-to-order kiosk stations are your dream come true. 

4. Variety.

chocolate, sweet
Sherilyn McLean

In addition to its built-to-order food selections, Wawa has a diverse assortment of snacks, fresh fruits and salads, ready-to-go breakfast "Sizzli" sandwiches, and so much more. The Wawa aisles are always kept fully stocked; and while all the options may be overwhelming, you'll never leave the store empty-handed.

5. It's a pre-beach necessity.

ice, coffee, beer, water
Sherilyn McLean

If you're getting ready to spend the day at North Ave or Oak Street Beach during summertime in Chicago, you're going to need to make a Wawa run. Grabbing your favorite snacks, drinks and even sunscreen beforehand is essential for a good beach day. And the best part? You can walk into any Wawa store barefoot and the employees won't even judge you.

6. It's also a pre-road trip necessity.

tea, salmon
Sherilyn McLean

Before taking that weekend trip visiting friends at Notre Dame or Indiana University, a Wawa stop is a must. Refilling your gas tank is so much more enjoyable when you can go inside a Wawa store and grab all your long car ride essentials at one place. 

7. There's an app. 

beer, tea, coffee
Sherilyn McLean

As if Wawa wasn't already convenient enough, the store has gone mobile. Wawa's app includes a loyalty program, mobile ordering, an allergen menu, and a nutrition calculator. That's right – when you're on-the-go, you can order your breakfast while riding the L and get rewarded for it

8. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

grass, coffee
Sherilyn McLean

Whether you need your morning fix before dealing with Lake Shore Drive traffic or that extra kick while cramming at 1 am for your last final – Wawa coffee is there for you. Wawa's selection of freshly brewed coffee is reliable and inexpensive - all sizes costing less than $2. The coffee stations offer a variety of different blends, creamers and sizes so that you can make your coffee exactly how you like it. 

9. Surcharge-free ATMs.

Wawa practically puts money in your pocket with its affordable prices, but even more so with its surcharge-free ATMs. Yes, that means no fees when you forgot there's a cover at the new bar on Hubbard and you need cash asap. Saving that extra $2 will get you the coffee you're going to need in the morning.

10. It's more than just a gas station, it's a lifestyle. 

coffee, beer
Sherilyn McLean

Although several locations conveniently have gas stations, what makes Wawa so remarkable is the experience. Wawa Inc. has established a cult status because of its ability to create a shared experience among communities of hungry people constantly on the move.

There is no denying that Chicago is home to some of the greatest foods and restaurants to ever exist, but not many of these places can say they create the experience that Wawa stores do. So if you haven't already booked a flight to the East Coast to enjoy the wonders of Wawa, I suggest starting a petition to open a location in Chicago right away.