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August 27, 2009 3:50 PM   Subscribe

A five-page Washington Post epic about the pluralistic cults of WaWa and Sheetz. If you've ever spent any significant amount of time in the Mid-Atlantic states, you'll understand. (print format link)
posted by potch (102 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this something I have to live somewhere other than where I live to appreciate?
posted by hippybear at 3:57 PM on August 27, 2009


Well, there's no cult that I know of but around here we do have the haliosly named Kum & gos
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on August 27, 2009


Hilariously named, even
posted by delmoi at 4:02 PM on August 27, 2009


If you haven't spent any significant amounts of time in the Mid-Atlantic states, you'll snark.
posted by carsonb at 4:02 PM on August 27, 2009


Is this something I have to live somewhere other than where I live to appreciate?

Yep. But at least you don't have to live my glum existence: I'm a Sheetz guy living in WaWa land.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:03 PM on August 27, 2009


Well, I did read the entire piece. Twice. It was peculiar, because while most of the words (most, not all) had meaning for me, I could not actually parse anything that was being talked about.

It was like reading a highly symbolic poem in German. I can do the language fine, but get lost when the meanings are two or three layers beneath the surface.
posted by hippybear at 4:06 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've never heard of Sheetz, but this has Wa-Wa pegged. Actually, it's uncannily accurate.
posted by ob at 4:06 PM on August 27, 2009


I'm a PA native who's moved to Massachusetts and one thing I'll always miss about Wawa was their semi-robotic sandwich ordering mechanism. What an awesome thing to have in a store. Always the perfect sandwich and the fastest order time. I really wish Subway would copy it.
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 4:07 PM on August 27, 2009


As someone who spent many undergraduate afternoons in the Princeton WaWa, thank you!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:09 PM on August 27, 2009


Don't let that stop you from commenting on it, hippybear.
posted by Liver at 4:11 PM on August 27, 2009


I learned about WaWa from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

I hope one day to go into one and purchase these damn TastyCake (sp?) things I keep hearing so durn much about.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:21 PM on August 27, 2009


I'll always remember when I was relocated to Philly. I was working out of the downtown office that day, and for lunch, my urbanite co-workers suggested we go to Wawa. I chuckled, thinking they were joking, and they looked at me funny. These were reasonably cultured, hip people, and lunches typically involved some corner restaurant with some degree of indie cred. I responded:

"What, you're saying we should go to the convenience store... for sandwiches?"

And indeed, we went to the convenience store... for sandwiches. It was on that day I discovered the true greatness of Wawa.
posted by eschatfische at 4:32 PM on August 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


That article is just surreal, and I say that as someone well familiar with WaWa at least, which is all over the place where I grew up (my sister's friend used to manage one), as are Tastykakes. Where I live now, not so much. I occasionally crave a Tastykake cupcake, but I think that is more nostalgia than anything else. Note that you can order Tastykakes online now.
posted by gudrun at 4:35 PM on August 27, 2009


"I hope one day to go into one and purchase these damn TastyCake (sp?) things I keep hearing so durn much about."

If you only get a chance to try one variety of TastyKake, let it be Butterscotch Krimpets and Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. Because it is literally impossible to try just one.
posted by potch at 4:35 PM on August 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


On road trips southward, I always try to hold out for a Sheetz to pee in. They tend to have the cleanest restrooms, plus they sometimes have novelty condoms next to the tampon machine.

Frankly, it never occurred to me to eat anything there.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:36 PM on August 27, 2009


Huh. I always wondered if there was a convenience store cult like what QuikTrip has between Tulsa and Springfield, MO. Guess that answers that question.

(No one I know prefers the Kum & Go, unless if to come up with alternate names for the chain. The Sperm & Split, The Jizz & Jet, and the well-known classic, The Ejaculate and Evacuate.)
posted by suckerpunch at 4:39 PM on August 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


I live above a Wawa. It was the main reason why I picked my apartment.
posted by melodykramer at 4:40 PM on August 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ahhhh, the "'Wa". In NEPA we never called it Wawa, it was always just "The 'Wa", and that's the second 'Wa in waWA.

They have/had the best rice pudding and Roast Beast sammiches, and yes beast, not beef. I met a really cute guy in the parking lot of the local 'Wa when I was in college - we dated for years.

Another one - while my friend and I were at the deli counter the [redacted] kicked in too quick before we had procured the provisions for the evening. That was interesting. Another time, we were waiting for someone at the 'Wa and we waited and waited and waited... he was waiting too, at the other 'Wa across town. Once I walked to the 'Wa in the pouring rain for a pack of smogs and when I got back home they had fallen out of my pocket. I walked all the way but didn't find them.

I read the whole article too and it reminded me of how much I miss the 'Wa and how much a part of my college life it was.
posted by goml at 4:41 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


WaWa

Metallica's Kirk Hammett unavailable for comments.
posted by qvantamon at 4:45 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pass (and go to) a WaWa nearly every night. I live in a podunk border town on the edge of the Virginia line, in rural NC. That WaWa is, essentially, the last vestige of fluorescent-lit, hot-ham-and-cheese, swedish-fish-in-a-pillow-case-sized-bag civilization before you get to my front door. Bless 'em.

Also, fried ravioli? At a convenience store? Hell yeah.

A most excellent post. Thanks!
posted by littlerobothead at 4:46 PM on August 27, 2009


Here is my Sheetz sandwich:

Bagel sandwich w/hamm, egg, tomato, cheese, dijon mustard.

It's the perfect sandwich.
posted by empath at 4:50 PM on August 27, 2009


I dunno from WaWa, but a Sheetz in North Carolina put my favorite coffeeshop out of business. I guess that what I am trying to convey to you, is:

Fuck Sheetz.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:50 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I understood half of that article. I've spent all but four years of my life in the Philly area, so I know Wawa; I don't think I've ever even seen a Sheetz.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:52 PM on August 27, 2009


Thanks for linking to this article!

It brings back memories, I would always stop at a Sheetz when driving through central Virginia, but back home in Maryland was Wawa territory. I actually miss both, now that I live somewhere with neither.
posted by needled at 4:52 PM on August 27, 2009


Some years back, I bought a travel-anywhere Greyhound ticket, good for thirty days, and proceeded to visit damn near everywhere. I experienced far too much convenience store food that month, but I remember the Wawa Shorty Hoagie that I devoured somewhere west of DC. Damn, that was a good sandwich.

That said, that sandwich is a distant second to the pure glory of the Danny & Clyde chain of convenience stores. Been years since I've been there but I used to love crossing the river and hitting the one in Gretna. Shrimp po-boy and a bag of Zapps, goddamn.
posted by suckerpunch at 4:53 PM on August 27, 2009


I grew up next door to Stan Sheetz and his family and I don't think I ever met one of them. The only thing I know about them is that they have the bad-ass-est front door I've ever seen at a residential address. It's all double-wide, swirly ridgy cast aluminum acid etched with pure awesome.

Also, their air conditioning installation took up a third of my back yard.

I would kill my dog for an MTO right now.
posted by miagaille at 4:59 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, fried ravioli? At a convenience store? Hell yeah.

What what whaaaaaat!??!



Oh.


My.


God.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:59 PM on August 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death.
posted by zoinks at 5:08 PM on August 27, 2009


I guess it's like this and this?

Note: I'm from California...
posted by shino-boy at 5:10 PM on August 27, 2009


Sheetz: That crack-of-dawn feeling when you're on your way to shoot at something. The way your truck looks glorious with mud on it.

That sums up central PA right there. The land where they shut the public schools down for the first day of doe season so that the kids and the teachers can all go kill bambi.
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never even heard of Sheetz till I visited my friend in Pittsburg last winter. The store was pretty snazzy, but he was WRONG when he said their egg-and-cheese sandwiches were better than what you get at a NY deli. I mean, they don't even use real eggs! But it really wasn't bad at all; certainly better than what you get at McDonald's, for instance.
posted by Edgewise at 5:24 PM on August 27, 2009


Sheetz's hot pepper relish was always a favorite.
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:25 PM on August 27, 2009


certainly better than what you get at McDonald's

At one point, when Sheetz was still a regional franchise looking to aggressively expand this was definitely true. I'm not so sure now. It might just be me though.
posted by mrmojoflying at 5:26 PM on August 27, 2009


When my small town near the VA-NC border (not near littlerobothead, though) got a Sheetz, it was the talk of the town for weeks. I came to appreciate it because I could stock up on cheaper gasoline and have an MTO on my drive back to college during the wee hours.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:27 PM on August 27, 2009


I went to college in a town with a WaWa. I ate shorti subs for lunch waaaay too often (this is when I was still a vegetarian - I don't know how they made bread + cheese + veggies so darn delicious), and stayed awake through many an all-nighter with the assistance of WaWa coffee, which is really pretty decent. The town I was born in was a Kum & Go town, and even all these years later the name still cracks me up every time.
posted by naoko at 5:28 PM on August 27, 2009


Yes. When I'm returning from a road trip, the first Sheetz I see is the first way I know that I'm approaching Home.

When it's 4am and you're bleary-eyed and hungry from a night of drinking, Sheetz welcomes you into fluorescent maw and bestows gifts of hot nachos, egg sandwiches, and veggie-cheese subs. (And fries now, too! And they're pretty good!)

When you've been driving all day and all you want is a cup of coffee and a place to take a leak, Sheetz is there.

When you're heading out for an afternoon of hiking on the Appalachian Trail and you need a bottle of water and a sack of trail mix, Sheetz is there.

If you're thinking "what's the big deal; it's just a convenience store"—well, no, it's not. 7-11 is a convenience store. Sheetz is a field depot for road missions. No weekend adventure in the mid-Atlantic is complete without a stop at Sheetz.
posted by ixohoxi at 5:32 PM on August 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


I haven't seen It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but my whole family (South Jerz represent) has always been obsessed with Tasty Cakes from Wawa. I didn't know it was a thing.
posted by honestamalia at 5:47 PM on August 27, 2009


Metafilter: over-thinking a plate of convenience stores.
posted by napkin at 5:48 PM on August 27, 2009


madcaptenor, you never went to Knoebels? That there's Sheetz country.

I remember my first time in a Sheetz, after years of knowing and loving the Wawa, I felt a little of what a child feels when forced to choose between warring parents.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:49 PM on August 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Used to live in Philly, became a dedicated fan of the WaWa down the street. Out here in Phoenix, Circle K is pretty good 'n' all, but compared to WaWa?

Where does one get a degree in the Convenience Arts?
posted by ph00dz at 6:05 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm from Western PA, and I don't think I ever even set foot in a Sheetz, much less knew I was supposed to have a religious devotion to it. This is like when I first heard about Primanti Brothers, ten years after I moved away.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:10 PM on August 27, 2009


I'm from Western PA, and I don't think I ever even set foot in a Sheetz, much less knew I was supposed to have a religious devotion to it. This is like when I first heard about Primanti Brothers, ten years after I moved away.

Blasphemy.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 6:13 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was under the impression that every Sheetz store was just a front for running numbers. I know nothing about WaWa. Probably Mafia too. Everything in the Mid Atlantic is.
posted by dortmunder at 6:14 PM on August 27, 2009


I first heard about Primanti Brothers ten years after I moved away.

Oh you poor poor man. That's like moving into a house that has an orgasm machine stored in a closet you've never bothered to open. Then years after you move out, the new owners find the orgasm machine, and when they take it out, they find it was covering a hole in the floorboards that leads to the Lost City of Chocolate Donuts.

Thanks for this article, by the way. I grew up with a Wawa right down the street, then moved into a small town with a Sheetz (or, in local parlance, Sheetz's). Haven't read it yet, but when i do I know I'll want one of my two favorites:

(1) Shmuffin with egg, cheese, and secret triple bacon. You can achieve triple bacon by ordering your base sandwich with bacon on it, then hitting the "double meat" button, then hitting "add bacon" at the end. I was never a fan of Middleswarth chips, but I understand that to those who are, nothing compliments an MTO better.

(2) Wawa tuna hoagie, with bacon and creamy horseradish, tomato and onion. Soft pretzel on the side, followed by a Tastykake for dessert (my first choice: the discontinued Tasty-Klair; my second choice: Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes). Wash it all down with some HFCS-infused Turkey Hill Iced Tea.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:28 PM on August 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


I live in a Sheetz town near the WVA border, and used to live in Frederick, a divided Sheetz/Wawa town.
If I can wait to get something to eat when on the run, Wawa's my first choice. Egg white and turkey sausage bagel. Much better than Sheet's Shmuffinz, Scmiscuitz and Shmagelz (no joke, they're called that). Better (Bunn) coffee at Wawa, with cheaper gas and nicer kids behind the counter. Sheetz has Wawa beat on their coffee bar, except their coffee menu board is headed 'Coffeez'. Those Sh's and Z's get a little old, but it's Sheetz's gimmick, such as it is.

Both have some spaceport-sized sites, two I can think of - Sheetz in Gettysburg at Routes 15 and 30, and Wawa, just off of West Uwchlan Avenue in Downingtown.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:28 PM on August 27, 2009


Sorry: Middleswarth Chips.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:30 PM on August 27, 2009


Oh man, now I'm jonesing for a WaWa sandwich. The nearest is probably 2,800 miles away. At least we have In-n-Out around here to mitigate the sorrow.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:42 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I worked at a Wawa for four years, all through college and for several months afterward. The job was annoying but liveable - once the sandwich ordering terminals went in, it got a lot better. I always liked that we kept the place clean and in reasonable order (although during morning coffee rush that is an uphill battle). It's not great pay, but they do build an absolute cult of loyalty that you simply cannot beat. The employee introduction involves watching video after video, about carding kids for cigarettes and stuff like that, that drum home an internal mantra of "The brand you can't live without."

I haven't worked at Wawa for six years, and damn if a week goes by when I don't go. And fwiw, the Tastykake creme-filled koffee kakes are my Kryptonite. And they sell the delicious little fuckers in packs of three!!!
posted by graymouser at 6:42 PM on August 27, 2009


the discontinued Tasty-Klair

Discontinued? Nooooo! I loved those things, although from your link they had 390 calories each so I probably didn't need them. But they were wonderful.
posted by octothorpe at 6:47 PM on August 27, 2009


Egg white and turkey sausage bagel.

Yeah, I've come to the conclusion that it's actually the tastiest thing on their breakfast menu. I usually treat myself to one on a weekend (having, you know, cereal or stuff on a day to day basis), and this past weekend they only had regular sausage. Just not the same. The turkey sausage is better spiced, I think. And the egg white is better too.
posted by graymouser at 6:50 PM on August 27, 2009


I could be wrong, octothorpe. But last time I visited home I didn't find them anywhere, and when I mentioned it to my mom (an avid fan of the 'Kakes) she said she hadn't seen them in a while.

You're right though, they're terrible for you. Like 50 grams of fat per serving.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:56 PM on August 27, 2009


I miss Sheetz and WaWa after being away from home for several years now. Sheetz sub sandwiches are simple but cheap and delicious -- nothing in Tokyo can compare.

Can someone ship me one on dry ice, please?

(And these WaWa Tastycakes intrigue me. I shall have to investigate the next time I'm stateside.)
posted by armage at 6:57 PM on August 27, 2009


And these WaWa Tastycakes intrigue me. I shall have to investigate the next time I'm stateside.

Tastykakes are not a Wawa product, they're just a Philly thing. By which I mean the bakery's in Philly and they only ship locally, and are good enough that they're the most frequent request from people who leave the area. But they probably sell bucketloads at Wawas.
posted by graymouser at 7:00 PM on August 27, 2009


I'm lucky enough over the last two years to have had very good reason to travel to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and spent a substantial amount of chewing time tasting and eating made-to-order sandwiches from both Sheetz and Wawa. (Here at home in northwest Arkansas, we have Kum & Go, which doesn't make fresh sandwiches; ergo, it's merely a big gas station that sells a lot of pop.) Sheetz's cold sandwiches are adequate-to-good, but their hot sandwiches are terrific (as are their fries). But the best that Sheetz has to offer can't touch Wawa's hoagies, and it's the rolls that make all the difference. Wawa's rolls are from Amoroso Baking Company, and they are better than the rolls I've had at any other chain sandwich shop. Words fail me.

I'm headed to the Jersey shore over Labor Day weekend, and aside from spending time with my girlfriend, the best part of the trip will be eating Italian hoagies from Wawa. It's been almost a year since I had a Wawa hoagie. I can hardly wait. For real.
posted by anaphoric at 7:10 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


the discontinued Tasty-Klair

I don't know, I could swear I had one just a few months ago. I don't see them in the summer, when it's fruit pies galore. Look again in a month's time, which is just about when the luscious Tastykake Pumpkin Pie should be appearing on shelves.

My teenage summers at the shore revolved around Wawa (at one point, Stone Harbor NJ had TWO - and my sister worked at both of them). We would all chip in to buy the truly awesome Family Hoagie after work and then drink coffee and eat pints of Ben and Jerry's until the wee hours. We thought we were so badass.

I've been to Sheetz, and I can certainly see its allure in some respects, but Wawa...Wawa is in my blood. (^_^)
posted by chihiro at 7:17 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


During a blizzard, we got all our Christmas shopping done at the Wawa a quarter mile from our house . . . that was 40 years ago.
posted by Peach at 7:26 PM on August 27, 2009


Wawa was one of the few redeeming qualities of my two year stint in Delaware. That, and Rita's Water Ice.
posted by kimdog at 7:37 PM on August 27, 2009


Tastykakes are not a Wawa product

That explains why I've never seen them in Richmond. Ah well.
posted by armage at 7:50 PM on August 27, 2009


Wawa recently closed down at least 3 stores in downtown Philadelphia, which is an incredibly stupid and annoying move. Evidently they want to focus more on their suburban stores. What decade is this?
posted by deafmute at 7:51 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I go to sheetz all the time for gas and sodas (southern va.), but never thought to try the food. This thread has made me hungry so I will give it a try tomorrow. But man, now I really want to try a wawa hoagie.

also, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is one of the funniest shows ever. I just found it flipping channels a few years ago, but seasons 2 and 3 were amazing. I have a feeling it is about to go downhill, but no matter, a few of those episodes were as funny as anything I have seen on tv.
posted by vronsky at 7:57 PM on August 27, 2009


Both have some spaceport-sized sites

There's an absolutely enormous Sheetz at Huyett's Crossroads in Maryland. As it happens, it's just down the road from a Ruritan Hall and a Grange Hall, both of which used to host the local punk bands when I was a teenager.

Somehow, through the wonders of marijuana, this particular Sheetz became known as "Croatan, the God of Sheetz" among my punk-rock brethren.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:08 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


deafmute: "Wawa recently closed down at least 3 stores in downtown Philadelphia, which is an incredibly stupid and annoying move. Evidently they want to focus more on their suburban stores. What decade is this?"

Sheetz doesn't have stores in the city either as far as I can tell. They're ringed around Pittsburgh but don't have any in the actual city. I'd love to have one instead of the crappy dirty 7-11 around the corner. I only get to hit Sheetz when I'm traveling.
posted by octothorpe at 8:08 PM on August 27, 2009


Also worth noting: Sheetz pays amazingly decent wages for a convenience store, and offers its employees health benefits, to boot.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:10 PM on August 27, 2009


So it was maybe 1998 or 1999, and there I was in Anne Arundel county, just outside Baltimore's city limits. I had to go to the post office. It being that I'm from New York, I'm one of those assholes who never managed to get it together to get a driver's license. So I just up and started walking.

I was something of a get-up-and-go person at the time. Also, an idiot.

Two-and-a-half miles of plodding through weeds on the side of a highway later, I was almost back home. Feeling a bit parched (it was June, and as such, something like 95 degrees), I decided to stop in a Wawa to buy a drink and a cup of fruit salad. Just as I was about to pay, the man behind me shouted, "Don't move!"

My first thought was, "Really, he couldn't have waited his turn to rob the goddamn store?" But then it turned out that he didn't want to rob the store. He wanted to burn ticks off of the back of my neck. The cashier didn't so much as flinch when he asked her for matches, handing them right over. Which is how I ended up bent forward over the counter while I guy I had not yet seen held fire right up to the back of my head.

I was kind of dazed from the experience, and can't even remember if I paid for the fruit salad. The guy was nice enough to drive me the remaining half mile to my boyfriend's house. I'm not sure, but I think he spent the entire ride talking about being a jet-ski salesman.

God bless Bawlmer. That is all.

p.s., Those Tastykakes will never taste as good as they did when I was ten, but I'll be damned if I can get up the gumption to tell my gramma to stop buying them whenever I visit.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2009 [12 favorites]


Yeah I was going to say ixohoxi that the employees always seem happy to be there, and are helpful without being phony about it. And one cashier told me that they were helping (all/some?) with her tuition at a local college.
posted by vronsky at 8:19 PM on August 27, 2009


Around here, a disproportionate number of the Craigslist Missed Encounter posts are about seeing people at Sheetz. None for me, though. :(
posted by MegoSteve at 8:43 PM on August 27, 2009


Sheeeeeeeeeeeeitz. Wawaweewa.

Sorry I have no idea what this is about.

XO

P.S. This comment is performance art

But irony is the last refuge of a WaWa customer.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:53 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up in the town where Sheetz was founded. I fondly remember when the first "Super Sheetz," a Sheetz with an expanded selection of Made-To-Order food and dine-in seating, opened. I was in high school, and I am not ashamed (ok, maybe a little ashamed) to admit that I actually went on DATES where we ate at the Super Sheetz. I have since moved to central Illinois, where there are no Sheetz and nothing that even approximates a Sheetz, and it is a sad thing. When my SO and I go home to visit our families, we eat at every Sheetz we encounter in Pennsylvania.

Sniff, sniff. I'm going to go call my mom now and ask her to mail me some quesadillaz and shmiscuits.
posted by rebel_rebel at 9:10 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


My college had a sheetz that was a 30 minute round trip drive from the campus.

Why the hell they wouldn't put it on the main thoroughfare that drunk / stoned / hungry college students could walk to at 3am to get an extra bacon bacon bacon bacon sandwich, I would never know. Instead your option at that hour was the Dunkin Donuts or whatever food you could scavenge at the WalMart.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:19 PM on August 27, 2009


I miss pre-gas Wawa. Back when they were small and you could meet your neighbors there when they were getting their morning coffee and Tastykake.

Those big new Wawas just aren't as great as they were in South Jersey in the 90's.
posted by pantsonfire at 9:44 PM on August 27, 2009


nothing in Tokyo can compare.

While the fast foods of Tokyo are a cut above all competitors, they are definitely lacking in the sandwich department. Which is strange considering as how good the burgers are there. My last trip to Tokyo, I was there for a month, and found out on my way to the airport to come home when I found out there was a decent panini joint about 50 yards from the apt I had been staying in.

I know of the WaWa from listening to Tom Scharpling.

Local delicacies are endlessly fascinating. The funny part is trying to convince someone who hasn't bonded with them that they're good. It never works.

I'm pretty sure they have Tastycakes in NYC,but they're kind of random. There was a Philly Cheesesteak place in Seattle that had them shipped in.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:57 PM on August 27, 2009


Why the hell they wouldn't put it on the main thoroughfare that drunk / stoned / hungry college students could walk to at 3am to get an extra bacon bacon bacon bacon sandwich, I would never know.

You know, I always wondered why there was never a Sheetz within walking distance of PSU's main campus. It's just silly -- they'd make money hand over fist.

Of course, I also think McDonald's should stay open until after the bars close, and sell Egg McMuffins. They would clean the fuck up.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:57 PM on August 27, 2009


The mid-Atlantic region has the following must-try trashy foods:

Utz
Wawa's
Sheetz
Five Guys.

Did I miss anything?
posted by empath at 12:27 AM on August 28, 2009


err-- and tastykakes.

Growing up in DC, I just took all these for granted.
posted by empath at 12:27 AM on August 28, 2009


Well familiar with WaWa; never heard of Sheetz. I'm from the northeast.
posted by mirepoix at 1:19 AM on August 28, 2009


Having driven I-80 from Chicago to NJ countless times, Sheetz is a dependable source of cheap gas and strong coffee.

WaWa? South Jersey's version of White Hen Pantry. A Convenience store. 7-11. QuickCheck. QuickieMart. Nothing Special.

Now that I'm in AZ, it's Circle-K all the way. 'Cuz they sell bananas for $0.49/pound.
posted by unmake at 4:20 AM on August 28, 2009


Sometimes I think you Americans are just weird.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:23 AM on August 28, 2009


This thread is the first time I've been homesick since I gave the finger to South Jersey and vowed never to go back.

Everything bagel and a large black coffee for breakfast on the way to the airport, followed by a lunch of their excellent roast beef sandwich.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:11 AM on August 28, 2009


I've lived in DC and Philly all my life, and this is the first time I'd ever heard Tastykake is not available universally. The world seems a little frighteningly bigger than it did five minutes ago.

That said, I was surprised when the article didn't tackle Royal Farms' depressing and apparently totally failed attempt to become a Wawa knockoff - the last time I was in one it had the same central registersphere-thing, similar cases for fresh fruit (except theirs was dingy and full of week-old looking wilted salads and bruised apples), and a coffeepot row that tried to be like one you'd find at a Wawa but only a third the size. The whole place felt sad and left a frown on my face the rest of the day.

Oh, and previously.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:16 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


madcaptenor, you never went to Knoebels? That there's Sheetz country.

No kidding. There's a Sheetz just down the road from the park in Elysburg. It's across the street from a Turkey Hill store, if memory serves, and I always wondered how fierce and brutal that particular turf war must be.

Actually, my fondest memory of Sheetz involves camping at Knoebels and waking up early one morning after a rain to find a little too much water on the floor of my tent and my wallet completely soaked. I drove up and down Route 487 with the car heater on, drying out my cash on the dashboard vents. When the money was dry enough I stopped at Sheetz and, at six in the morning, got me a meatball sub. It was the greatest campout breakfast ever.
posted by Spatch at 5:36 AM on August 28, 2009


There used to be a rare WaWa with a grill down the street from my college. I have intense nostalgia for finishing a late night game of frisbee golf and going to the WaWa for a cheesesteak (actually, usually two of them). It was so good.

For some reason, they took out the grill when I was a junior or senior, and nothing was the same thereafter. I miss it to this day.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:40 AM on August 28, 2009


If you only get a chance to try one variety of TastyKake, let it be Butterscotch Krimpets and Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. Because it is literally impossible to try just one.

I have to admit to a preference for the Jelly Krimpets over the Butterscotch. I could probably eat an entire box of those things in one sitting.

Recipe for a reasonable facsimile of Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes:

4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 jar peanut butter*
1 12 oz. bag choc chips

Blend eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread in jelly roll pan. Bake 15-20 min. until golden. Immediately after taking out of oven, spread peanut butter on top and cool. Melt chocolate chips in microwave as directed and spread on cooled peanut butter. Refrigerate and cut.


*(I usually use creamy, to keep it closer to the TastyKake version, and because it's easier to spread, but crunchy would work too)

You don't get the "enrobed" effect that the Kandy Kakes have (the chocolate's only on top) but the taste is very similar. Very easy to make but so, so tasty.
posted by alyxstarr at 5:57 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


You guys are making me miss my old home state. Willingboro, NJ, is where I'm from, and hoagies, cheesesteaks, Frank's Golden Dry Ginger Ale, and Butterscotch Krimpet Tasty-Kakes is what I'm about.

Yum.
posted by grubi at 6:01 AM on August 28, 2009


What a great thread.

I gew up in south-central PA, where Sheetz burst onto the local convenience store scene when I was high school in the late '80s/early '90s. It was glorious.

When I went to grad school in Philly, I learned of the wonders of the Wa.

They're both great in their respective ways, but in my heart of hearts, I'll always have a soft spot for Turkey Hill and its insanely sweet iced tea in cardboard cartons. Delish.
posted by cheapskatebay at 6:12 AM on August 28, 2009


Up in the sky
There's a man flying by
In the WaWa hoagie balloon

We have a bike ride called 'the ride of the seven WaWas.' It goes by 7 WaWas in 40 miles or so, in South Jersey. That's not hard to do.
posted by fixedgear at 6:20 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


WAWA 4 EVA BITCHEZ!
posted by Mister_A at 6:38 AM on August 28, 2009


Love's represent!
posted by transporter accident amy at 7:31 AM on August 28, 2009


So I lived in Charlottesville, VA for about 3.5 years and then moved to Philly for 4 years. Before I moved, I made the weekend drive from Cville to Philly and back about a billion times. This sent me straight out of Sheetzland, through the Disputed Territories, and right into Wawastan.

There were three Sheetz on 29 North; I always stopped on the way up for gas and coffee. Leaving Philly, I'd stop by Wawa for coffee and a hoagie and tastycakes - the urban stores don't have gas. Getting back into Virginia, I'd grab a Sunday Post and more gas.

At any rate, they are both great, but I'd say that Wawa is better.

More on Wawa (and Sheetz) from AskMe.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 7:48 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


the article fails to mention (though others have in this thread) Turkey Hill, which is the convenience chain out of Lancaster that serves as the buffer between these two warring factions.

I grew up in a town of less than 3000 people that has no less than 3 Sheetzs.
And went to college in a town that had 3 as well - 2 of which were less than 5 blocks from each other as the crow flies.

There is little in life as satisfying as being 21, drunk, and eating an MTO (that's Made-To-Order, as in sandwich, for you WaWa heathens) at 3am.
posted by namewithoutwords at 8:13 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up in SE PA, and I worked at a Wawa as a teenager. And this is the first time I've ever heard of Sheetz.

When I worked at Wawa I was too young to legally operate the meat slicer, so I spent a lot of time stocking the walk in freezer instead. There was an amazing local hoagie place right across the street from this particular Wawa, so I always felt sort of sorry for the people getting their hoagies at the Wawa instead, but eventually they grew on me.
posted by yarrow at 8:25 AM on August 28, 2009


Shmeetup
posted by nj_subgenius at 9:32 AM on August 28, 2009


Did I miss anything?

Scrapple?

As a kid, my strategy for eating Butterscotch Krimpets was to carefully peel the cakes away from the icing, eat them first, and then ball up the icing for a decadent treat. That, or stick them in the freezer.

And I can attest to the school vacation days for deer season. When I moved deeper into rural Pennsyltucky, my new district closed for the opening of buck season, right after Turkey Day. It always pissed me off that instead, I had to attend school the day before Thanksgiving. Oh, and they didn't close for MLK's birthday, either.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 9:35 AM on August 28, 2009


When I lived in Lancaster, PA it was all Turkey Hill (god, their ice cream and their iced tea!), but then a Sheetz moved in. We would go there to get cheap gas, but otherwise regarded it with suspicion.

I was sad to see that most of the Wawas are gone from downtown Philly, last time I visited.

Out here we've got super, super LAME Plaid Pantry. Oh, Wawa...I miss you so.
posted by medeine at 10:40 AM on August 28, 2009


Wawa recently closed down at least 3 stores in downtown Philadelphia, which is an incredibly stupid and annoying move. Evidently they want to focus more on their suburban stores. What decade is this?

They've done the same in Wilmington, Delaware and the inner suburbs of Delaware County, Pa. I'm not sure what they're thinking. I used to stop at Wawa on my way to work just about every morning for coffee but now I rarely go because it's too far out of my way. I guess they just want those giant stores with the gas now.
posted by interplanetjanet at 11:21 AM on August 28, 2009


And my Wawa story, which pulls together this thread and the recurring "free range kids" v. overprotective parents threads.

Starting when I was about 12, I was often sent to walk or ride my bike about 1/2 mile across a busy 4 lane road to buy my father cigarettes. Which the Wawa happily sold me.
posted by interplanetjanet at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2009


But at least you don't have to live my glum existence: I'm a Sheetz guy living in WaWa land.

And I'm a WaWa girl living in Sheetz territory. Oh, the tragedy! Sheetz is fine, I guess, but they're hoagies (aka subs here in the South) aren't as good as WaWa's. And cheese filled soft pretzels? Sheetz can't top that.

Tastykakes are not a Wawa product, they're just a Philly thing. By which I mean the bakery's in Philly and they only ship locally...

Actually, they're spreading further from Philly as the years go by. It used to be you couldn't get them outside of PA, but in recent years I've found Tastykakes in my current state of Virginia in most grocery stores. There's usually a poor selection of them at Sheetz and other convenience stores though - or worse, none at all.
posted by geeky at 12:22 PM on August 28, 2009


I grew up in and still live in Wawa territory, but I went to school in Sheetz territory (Indiana, PA). This thread makes me feel like I'm still at school, because half of the school was from the Pittsburgh side of PA and the other half was from the Philly side, so there would be daily arguments of soda vs. pop, hoagie vs. sub, Eagles vs. Steelers, etc. I just think it's great that both of these quasi-local businesses exist, because they are both one million percent better than 7-11.
posted by zorrine at 12:39 PM on August 28, 2009


I spent one summer recovering from the "lets see other people" breakup with my first girlfriend. I'd get up at 6:30 and be slicing meat into little perfectly weighed plastic packages for a couple hours preparing for the lunch rush. I worked with a bunch of middle aged ladies who adored me 'cause I worked hard and they could probably tell I was broken hearted. When people started coming in for sandwiches it was terrifically frantic. I made over a thousand hoagies that summer and to this day I order subs with the same rhythm I developed repeating orders back to people. It was a great distraction and I credit it with getting me through. That and the night job doing type-setting on a "computer" older than I was. Fun times. God I miss tastee kakes...
posted by roue at 7:47 PM on August 28, 2009


I grew up with Wawas in the Philadelphia area and never stepped foot in a Sheetz until going to college (they ONLY had Sheetz in the middle of PA!). The only thing that impressed me about Sheetz was the computer ordering system for sandwiches (my Wawas didn't have that yet). Now that pretty much every Wawa has the computers at the deli counter, it is officially the best convenience store EVER. All you need's a ciabatta melt, one of their 99 cent iced teas, a Tasty Kake (Butterscotch Krimpet), some Herr's and you're all set! Gottahava Wawa!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:22 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Frederick. It didn't really occur to me until I left town for college that there was such a thing as a convenience store that wasn't a Sheetz or a 7-11. (Or High's.. does anyone else remember High's? I think 7-11 bought them in the early nineties or so..). I think I first heard about Wawa in 2002, but it was, like, that weird place out by Ballenger Creek. I think I went there once, maybe?
posted by Alterscape at 1:21 AM on August 29, 2009


I go to Wawa for gas, and I see people drive past real restaurants and real sandwich shops, just to buy food at a gas station.

It blows my mind.

I'm going to bookmark this thread and save it, for whenever I might need an appetite suppressed in the future.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:24 AM on August 29, 2009


When we first got the WaWa / Gas Station combos in SJ, they were known as either Über-Wah or Mecca-WaWa.
posted by mincus at 11:49 AM on August 31, 2009


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