As a New Jersey native, I always heard about the wonders of Wawa. The upscale gas station convenience store located in six states is said to change lives and create happiness. 

Because I did not frequent the Jersey shore that is scattered with these hotspots, I was unable to relate to the Wawa enthusiasm that my high school peers had upon returning to school after a summer spent at the beach. I could not understand the superiority of Wawa's coffee. I could not contribute to the great Wawa versus Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich debate that was sparked in several of my classes. And, I could not even fathom the idea that food from a gas station could be remotely appetizing.

However, over my spring break this year, I went to Orlando, Florida with my college tennis team to compete in matches at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus, and our condo was located just a mile away from a Wawa.

Late night matches meant late night meals, and with restaurants being closed, teammates feeling tired and hungry and a $15 per person budget, Wawa was the most fitting option.

The Atmosphere

One night, for a post-match dinner run, I stopped at Wawa with my team. Once I walked in, I immediately took note of how spacious and sleek it was. The countless snack aisles and the baked goods section emphasized the hominess and familiarity of your typical run-of-the-mill convenience store, while the touch-screen menu kiosks maximized the modernity.

#SpoonFact: Wawa was the first convenience store to implement the touch-screen ordering system.

cake, tea, pizza
Alexandria Jones

Not only does Wawa carry a wide array of food that can satisfy any craving, but the service is also extremely efficient. With 20 other teammates and two coaches, I expected to leave the store in no less than an hour. Much to my surprise, everyone was served rather quickly, and we left with meals in hand in approximately 20 minutes.

The Subs or “Hoagies”

Photo courtesy of @wawa on Instagram

While I have never uttered the word “hoagie” in my life (what's up, North Jersey), I will for the sake of Wawa. When you approach the touch-screen menu, you can begin ordering your hot or cold meal. Meal options include paninis, burritos, quesadillas and the famous hoagie.

If you opt for the hoagie (which I personally, would recommend), then you can either choose from a selection of pre-made options, or you can customize your own. If you decide to customize, then you have the freedom to build your dream sandwich with an assortment of bread, meats, sauces and other toppings displayed on the screen in front of you.

Originally overwhelmed at the number of options, and after staring at the menu for several minutes, I asked one of my teammates for some assistance, and created a variation of her signature hoagie.

I ordered a turkey hoagie with lettuce, tomato, roasted red peppers, avocado and salt and pepper (because I always heard about people adding salt and pepper to their sandwiches and I decided to jump on that bandwagon, too).

Despite my initial hesitation about eating a sandwich from a gas station, my order was a success and I polished off my hoagie within minutes. Would #recommend.

The Sides

Upon ordering your meal, Wawa gives you the option of adding side dishes, such as soup, mashed potatoes, stuffing and chili. The fan favorite among my teammates was the mac and cheese. Because we had not eaten in eight hours, and with a tight team budget and Wawa’s fair pricing, we loaded up on the sides like it was our last meal. (PSA: The warm chocolate chip cookie is a great investment for 99 cents.)

The Snacks

While you can usually count on a convenience store to have a surplus on snacks, Wawa beats out your typical 7-Eleven. From chips, pretzels and cookies to fruit cups, veggies and dip and hummus and pita, Wawa carries both your standard snack foods, as well as healthy options.

In addition to selling merchandise from other brands, Wawa also carries its own brand of products, such as iced tea, juice, soda and coffee. Because Wawa has its own dairy, it sells its own dairy products, like ice cream, yogurt and milk.

#SpoonFact: Wawa started as a dairy in 1902 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

The Drinks

Wawa's award-winning coffee that comes in eight roasts and its large selection of specialty beverages will keep you coming back. With three frozen lemonades, six fruit smoothies and 18 cream smoothies (milkshakes) to choose from, there is a drink that will appeal to any thirsty customer.

Whether you are in the mood for something simple and classic, like a strawberry banana smoothie, or you have your heart set on something more complex, like a chocolate cookie cheesecake milkshake, you will not be left unsatisfied.

After my first experience at Wawa, I can understand why it is so revered. I revisited the glorious gas station food market two more times during my stay in Florida because I still had that hoagie on my mind.

So, if you are in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland or Virginia, take a walk on over to Wawa. You will not be disappointed.