Everything tastes better when you’re hungry, I thought. I tested this theory, mainly because I wanted to write a positive review.
Dunkin’ coined the phrase “running on” something, but I truly run on Wawa; from a morning Sizzli to a mid-afternoon sandwich, the majority of my spending money goes to Wawa cash registers and tip jars. So on Wednesday, March 10, I donated my school-supplied turkey-bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich to a hungry Liam Harkins, with the intent of giving the Wawa burger and fries a favorable chance for a five-star review.
My excitement was as loud and obnoxious as the grumble in my stomach. I packed up early, trying to beat the crowd, but was stopped in my tracks. Mr. Stambaugh did not find it appropriate to leave the already shortened Wednesday journalism class three minutes early—I made an awkward gesture to unpack the computer I had just placed in my bag. He looked away and I slid it back in.
The rush served no purpose. After three minutes of struggling to find the burger and fries on the Wawa touch screen, a customer service associate snapped at me. He then pointed upwards to a sign that read, It’s time for Dinner at Wawa, and in small print, Every day starting at 4 p.m.
Of course, I knew that this employee was not responsible for serving a common lunch item so late, so I thanked him with a toothy smile and left. Ninety minutes later, I returned, and five minutes after that, I took my first bite.
I enjoyed the brioche bun. It had a smooth gradient from a toasted brown top to a tan base. I finished the moist, flavorful bun even after the pseudo-Angus beef patty was gone.
I will also give Wawa credit for this: nowhere else can you customize a burger on a touchscreen kiosk. It is a shame that the lettuce, tomato, and onion add-ons could not make up for the driest fast-food burger I have ever tasted. I expected a burger made with more love than McDonalds but less than Kelly’s Taproom or Five Guys. I received a meal that I finished only because I had not eaten since breakfast.
Here is what I found eerie: less than five minutes after I grabbed my receipt and brought it over to the register, my meal was ready. Cold cuts can be fully cooked and ready for use, but Angus beef should not be. If you have noticed, Five Guys cooks their meat after your order has been placed. Given that my food was made in five minutes, and that it was room temperature when I took a bite, I concluded a harsh reality: this burger was no fresher than a Starbucks plastic-wrapped breakfast sandwich made weeks prior.
I am suspicious of premade fast food. The same goes for the french fries that were not fried in front of me, but rather unpackaged and microwaved. However, the seasoning resembled Popeyes’ cajun fries, and for an additional one dollar, it is a viable addition to a meal in dire need of flavor.
For those watching their intake, 770 calories should be enjoyed elsewhere. For those counting their change, seven dollars can go much further. And for those who also rely on Wawa for snacks, sandwiches, and sanity, stick to your go-to.