Upon suddenly having to go home to New Jersey to renew my driver’s license (why can’t we do this online yet?) and take care of some familial business, I didn’t really know what to write about for my next food adventure. My small Jersey Shore town, appropriate given the subject matter of the locally shot MTV show of the same name, is full of pricey (on a student budget) tex mex and red sauce Italian food. There’s also Chinese takeout, but really now: you can only say so much about beef with broccoli before it becomes boring. This would be where Wawa comes in.
Wawa isn’t really all that different from other convenience store chains such as 7/11 or Sheetz, except for the fact that it has a 24 hour made-to-order sandwich counter. Not exactly a novelty in the city where bodegas offering the same exact thing dot practically every street corner, but in New Jersey, the land in which almost everything shuts down after 10:00pm, it’s a big deal. While I was too much of a goody two shoes in high school to partake in any of the Wawa-based debauchery of my peers, the local store has somewhat of a cult following among the young folks. Primarily, it’s the place to go at 2am when you’re totally smashed and in the need of some meat and carb goodness. On that level, Wawa delivers.
I’d never had a Wawa hoagie before last summer. Popping my Wawa cherry started with good friend of mine and I IMming each other. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Why the hell is everyone and their brother becoming a fan of Wawa on Facebook?
Friend: Only because Wawa has THE BEST SANDWICHES EVER!!!@@!##!!
Me: But it’s a convenience store.
Friend: You act as if you’ve never had a sandwich from Wawa before.
Me: I haven’t.
Friend: WHAT!? I’M COMING OVER RIGHT NOW.
I should note that this was around 1:00 in the morning. For some reason, the more intoxicated you are or the later it is, the better the sandwich tastes. I’m going to attribute this to people being too tired/incoherent to realize that what they’re eating isn’t all that high quality, but yeah. Onto the food.
A beautiful sandwich indeed. I always get a roast beef and American cheese hoagie ($5.19) when I go, and it never disappoints. Floating in some kind of eerie sandwich limbo between a five dollar footlong from Subway and one of the sandwiches at some place like Pret A Manger, the Wawa sandwich won’t change your life, but it won’t make you want to vomit either. I suppose that’s a good trade-off. Like so many other convenience store or deli sandwiches that I’ve had, the veggie to meat ratio isn’t ideal, nor are the ingredients of particularly high quality. Whoever made this one in particular must have gone a little apeshit with the mayo as well, as the sandwich was practically drenched in the good stuff. Fortunately I like mayo, so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but I can see other people being grossed out by it. Even with these faults the Wawa sandwich is still really great, especially for the price. It’s a magical sandwich, one that somehow never succumbs to its shortcomings, and one that you should pick up if you’re ever down in this hellhole of a state, no matter the time of day or how many beers you’ve guzzled (preferably via funnel) beforehand.
(Wawa exterior shot by freakapotimus via Flickr)