Washington D.C.'s first Wawa is the largest Wawa yet
wawa new jersey
Credit: The Washington Post / Getty Images

The nation's capital has opened its first Wawa, which, at 9,200 square feet, is also the world's largest. Fittingly, the beloved convenience store chain is very, very packed. Celebrating the grand opening with free coffee and discounted Shortis (6-inch hoagies), the "state of the art" Wawa at 1111 19th St. NW features everything from free air for bicycle tires to nitro cold brew coffee, making it a bit different from the gas station-adjacent fixture you may have been imagining. (If you've never been to a Wawa before, you need to know the hype is well worth it.)

The first 100 customers at the door to the grand opening received prizes including free hoagies or Sizzli breakfast sandwiches for the month, but the waves of customers that followed seem to have stayed equally excited, filling the store to the brim.

The institution is generally most associated with its home in Philadelphia, so Wawa has been careful not to spur any jealousy when placing its largest location in another city. A spokesperson told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the choice "wasn't a matter of choosing one or the other"—rather, the newest location just "happens to be the largest based on the available space."

Perhaps in an effort to emphasize this, the new D.C. Wawa had US Rep. Brendan Boyle of Northeast Philadelphia cut the ribbon at the grand opening, before Miss DC 2017 Brianna Kinsey sang the national anthem.

Naturally, it was followed by the crowd singing "Fly Eagles Fly," and a rush that a nearby rival seemed eager to counter as best it could.

And it's only the first of what Wawa says could be up to 50 new D.C. locations in the coming years. Which may the Wawa-unacquainted among you wonder: just what is the deal with this place?

The answer? As Food & Wine delved deep into last month, is that Wawa isn't just a convenience more: it's so much more.