5 Amazing Things You Can Find at the World's Biggest Wawa in Philly
In October, the glittering new Comcast Technology Center opened its doors to the public, historic in its soaring height (Philly’s tallest, and number ten in the country) and futuristic in its function and design. But just last week there was another opening, and for some in the city, this one feels just as momentous. Philadelphia just became home to the biggest, most glorious Wawa in the world.
If you know anything about Philly, you know that Whiz is a respected cheese, water is spelled with two Os, and Santa had it coming. You also know that Wawa is not just a convenience store, but a way of life, as integral to the city as the Liberty Bell or the Birds.
Located in Center City, the new shop is steps from that famed bell, overlooking Independence Hall. (Just imagine what our forefathers and mothers, busy designing our flag and shaping our country’s democracy, would have thought of touch screens and made-to-order shorties.) Opening day celebrations kicked off with a parade, a visit from Mayor Jim Kenney, and a declaration from Thomas Jefferson. (In related news: the Colonial reenactors here are top notch.) Also—and, judging from the hoards of people swarming those urns, most importantly—there was free coffee. The entire opening weekend, the store gave away countless cups of joe, in all sizes, in all varieties. (Even the reserves! See below.)
From the table showcasing hometown treats near the entrance (including Herr’s chips, Tastykakes, and Goldenberg Peanut Chews) to the vibrant murals designed to show off “Philly Firsts” (the world’s first computer, the country’s first fire department, and so many more)—the whole store pays homage to the City of Brotherly Love.
Read on for five elements you won’t find at any other Wawa.
Up until now, Washington, D.C. boasted the largest Wawa in the land, but thankfully, that appalling misstep has been remedied. Clocking in at 11,500 square feet, the store takes up nearly half the city block. With the exception, so far, of the stampede during the weekday lunch rush when waiting for a single hoagie can take an hour, it feels airy and boundless.
An actual bakery
While other Wawas might sell a small selection of bagels and donuts, this one has its very own bakery, with baguettes, French loaves, and all-butter croissants in flavors like multi-grain and spinach feta.
A dizzying array of drinks on-tap
This location is serving a mind-blowing selection of beverages on-tap, with a lineup that reads more L.A. holistic juice bar than city corner store. There’s the more straightforward cold brew and nitro cold brew, plus nitro white green mint tea, kombucha, and something called the Up Mountain Swizzle, with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and ginger. The tangy Health Ade Pink Lady Apple, made from organic fruit, is also an off-beat hit. (Sadly, there’s no beer.)
Other Wawas only have a single urn of reserve coffee—more sophisticated than all the regular brews, but lonely in its superiority. This new store has eight different reserve coffees. Identified by their sleek black and gold-designed urn labeled with tasting notes like “earthy and mineral-like with notes of mushroom and sweet tobacco leaf,” the small batch-roasted selection will rotate. Other coffee drinks, made to order, include tea lattes and Vietnamese iced coffees.
We don’t have specific stats on this, but it’s possible no other Wawa looks like it was pulled from an influencer’s Pinterest page like this new one. The vibe is Art Deco-chic (at Wawa!) with copper fixtures and geometric black accents (we said Wawa), plus potted snake plants and a whole swath of wall covered in greens (still talking about Wawa), all under a lofty vaulted ceiling. Seriously, it’s a beaut.
The aforementioned murals, created in partnership with Philly’s Mural Arts program and designed by local artists Willis Humphrey and Keir Johnston, span two walls, and are reproduced on the coffee cups. Take one to go, or find cafe seating and get online with the free wifi. This Wawa has both.