Illustration by Stephanie Rudig
Illustration by Stephanie Rudig

When the news broke that cult convenience store chain Wawa was coming to D.C., Philadelphians living here finally had cause for celebration. After all, the Eagles have lost five straight games to the Washington football team.

The food markets that started as a dairy processing plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania, in 1902 are a go-to destination for hoagies and lemonade. In honor of the first D.C. location coming to the former City Sports space downtown (1111 19th St. NW), we asked restaurant folk from Philly and the Garden State to share their Wawa favorites.

Chef Jennifer Carroll, Requin

A roasted turkey and Swiss shortie, soft pretzel, bag of Doritos, and lemon-lime Gatorade

Mike Isabella, chef and restaurateur, (Graffiato, Kapnos, G, Arroz, Pepita, Yona)

A build-your-own Italian hoagie paired with a Mountain Dew

Josh Phillips, general manager and mezcalier, Espita Mezcaleria

“Wawa was my first job! I was too young to use the slicer, but I still crushed the deli. Teenage me always got a turkey hoagie, provolone, mayo, pickles, onions, shredded lettuce, oregano, and pepper for my lunch. Do they still have the stuffed pretzels?” 

Casey Patten, owner, Taylor Gourmet

Breakfast: drip vanilla coffee with a soft pretzel (when they’re the freshest)

Lunch: classic-size spicy Italian with lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers, sweet peppers, Parmesan, and a bag of Herr’s salt and vinegar potato chips

Kyle Bailey, chef and partner, The Salt Line

“My favorite thing to do is to buy a couple of hoagies: the meatball sub, a tuna hoagie, and a classic Italian. I eat the meatball on the drive home, then the tuna when I get home. I like to let the Italian sit in the fridge for a day to let the flavors marry together, then smash it into my face-hole. Plus the lemonade tea makes a great gin mixer for after work.”

Jonathan Taub, chef and co-owner, Bub & Pops

Italian toasted with mayo, mustard, tomato, lettuce, onion, pickles, sweet peppers, hot peppers, parmesan, provolone, and oregano plus green tea, a soft pretzel, and a box of Vanilla Dutches

Steve Uhr, operations director, Schlow Restaurant Group (Tico, The Riggsby, Casolare, Alta Strada, Conosci)

Regular-size turkey, spinach, tomato, pepper jack cheese, and banana peppers