Olivia Dish

Did He Say Wawa?

In Local Flavor, Pennsylvania on April 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Yes, that is what he said.

What kind of food will we find along the Pennsylvania Turnpike? My friend Blade Wellington and I were driving from Philadelphia to Wilkes Barre. It was late. We were hungry.

“Look, Quakertown, last food exit for 15 miles,” I said, pointing at the sign.  “Sounds like a good place for food.”

Blade agreed. He exited through the toll booth and after paying, asked the toll collector in his most gentile Southern accent, “Sir, can you recommend a place to get some food around here?”

“Well there’s quite a few places about four miles into town. Or you could go over here to wah-wah’s,” the man said, pointing over his shoulder with his thumb.

Wah-wah’s?  I chalked it up to regional accents.  We turned onto Fries Highway, which I took as a good omen, and started looking for Walter’s.

“I think he means this gas station,” Blade said, aiming our rental car toward a brightly lit complex.  And there on the sign was the name.

Your Wawa meal, made to order here.


Just what the man said.

Was I excited to dine at a gas station? Not exactly.  But Wawa turned out to be a little adventure–and a pleasant surprise.

Inside, there was a place to order sandwiches and hot food.  And ordering–well, you did that by way of entering what you want into a touch screen kiosk.  It was like checking in at the airport all over again.

Please place your order using this thing

The best surprise was that my sandwich was tasty. I also had a good variety of other foods from which to choose, and though there was plenty of fruit for the taking, I decided to sample something local.  Yes, potato chips.  Herr’s potato chips.  Quite good.

Herr's-local chips

So what’s the deal with naming your business Wawa?  I couldn’t wait to find out.  The company website says “wawa” is a native American word for the Canadian goose. They use a goose as part of their logo.  Still, you have to wonder why. Why wawa? Why not, say, “maize” or “kickapoo”?


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