Wawa is finally opening its doors in South Florida this month. After six months of growing anticipation, fans of the Philadelphia-based convenience-store chain can look forward to the official grand opening of the area's first three stores.
In July, Wawa announced plans to open nearly 50 stores in Palm Beach and Broward Counties over the next five years. The nearest Wawa currently open is in Stuart, in Martin County.
On Thursday, March 23, three Palm Beach County stores will debut. The grand opening will be celebrated with remarks from local officials, parades, and charity fundraising. Festivities begin in Palm Springs (3950 South Congress Ave., Palm Springs) at 9 a.m., Palm Springs South (1771 South Congress Ave., Palm Springs) at 12:30 p.m., and West Palm Beach (7289 Garden Rd., West Palm Beach) at 3 p.m.
Farther south, Broward County Wawas are under construction in Pompano Beach, Davie, and Parkland.
Wawa is probably one of the only convenience stores on the planet with a cult following. According to Forbes, the store brings in an estimated $9 billion in revenue from fewer than 650 stores in six states, and the official Wawa account has more than 1.3 million fans on Facebook, nearly 60,000 Instagram followers, and more than 160,000 Twitter followers. Founded in 1964, the company is best known for its freshly prepared foods, coffee station, and branded food and drink selections.
When they open later this month, each 5,000-square-foot Wawa store will offer the same items found at other state locations, including food-ordering kiosks for customizable hoagies and other items, a coffee station, and Wawa brand snacks and beverages.
The reason Wawa is coming to South Florida is pretty simple, says Wawa media relations manager Lori Bruce: "We are excited about our March 23 triple-header grand openings and reaching this historic milestone in our Florida expansion. The area is currently underserved by Wawa, and Palm Beach County was the first step towards expanding the brand further south."
Never been to Wawa? Here are the top five things to order:
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1. Customizable Hoagies
Don't mistake these for your average sandwich or sub. These are hoagies — AKA the best sandwiches ever. The full menu of hoagie sandwiches is without a doubt Wawa's most popular item. Why? The dough is from Philadelphia's Amaroso's Baking Company, and it's baked fresh in each store daily. They even have cute names for different sizes, from the four-inch "junior" and six-inch "shorti" to the ten-inch "classic." You can basically make any type of sandwich with seemingly endless combinations of meats, toppings, sauces, and specialty add-ons you design yourself using cool touchscreen menus at the deli counter. Choose from one of 32 combinations, including Buffalo breaded chicken, pepperoni pizza, and oven-roasted turkey.
2. Coffee Station
Ten types of lattes? Seven hot chocolates? Four kinda of chai? There's a magical machine that does it all. If you prefer regular coffee, every store has an overwhelming number of roasts and brews to choose from — and then a full refrigerated creamer and sweetener bar for customization to the max. Wawa even does this amazing thing when, every now and then, coffee is sold for $1 (any size) or just given away. The coffee is so good that Wawa even packages it in bags for you to take home, just in case you can't make it to the store that morning (or night). And just like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, Wawa releases limited-time, seasonal flavors such as pumpkin spice.
3. Breakfast Sizzli
Really, you haven't lived until you've had a bacon croissant Sizzli, the name for Wawa's branded breakfast sandwiches. Order them a dozen ways, on a bagel, croissant, biscuit, or French toast, with toppings like applewood-smoked bacon; regular, turkey, or chorizo sausage; several types of cheese; and, of course, egg. Craving breakfast late at night? Most stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's also a selection of doughnuts, bagels, and muffins baked onsite daily. And don't forget the hash browns.
No, not the dairy version. If you're thirsty, Wawa has almost any quencher you desire. You can get tons of drinks at Wawa that you can't get anywhere else, including the house brand iced teas, from mango and green tea to sweet and peach tea. Then there's the lemonade (and a half-and-half that's out of this world), sodas, chocolate milk — even orange juice. Don't forget the fruit and cream smoothies, including mango, peach, bananas Foster, mint cookies and cream, chocolate-chocolate chip, and caramel cream.
5. Tastykake Pies
Tastykake isn't Wawa's brand, but it might as well be. For New England-based Wawa fans, the brand name is especially familiar. The line of snack foods is manufactured by the Tasty Baking Company, headquartered at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center in Pennsylvania, making a natural choice for the Philadelphia-based Wawa to make it one of the chain's official favorite food items. Now South Florida gets them too. Try everything from cupcakes (available in chocolate, red velvet, and cream, filled with chocolate or buttercream icing) and Krimpets (sponge cake with butterscotch icing or jelly filling) to pies available in mini (handheld), full-size (nine-inch), and extra-large (24-inch).