Beloved Wawa: The Pope Was Promised a Hoagie of His Choice During His Philly Visit

Governor Wolf and First Lady Wolf Bid Farewell to Pope Francis
Image via Gov. Tom Wolf, Flickr, Creative Commons.
The Pope waves goodbye to Wawa as Governor Wolf and First Lady Wolf bid farewell to Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to Philadelphia.

The cult of Wawa represents the best of what Philadelphia has to offer, like a hoagie, writes Meghan McCarron for

When the Pope visited Philadelphia in 2015, Wawa was heavily involved. The mayor promised the pope his choice of hoagie. But did he want a Shorti or a Classic?

Miles, a Conshohocken corgi, is decorated as a Wawa hoagie
Miles, a Conshohocken corgi, is dressed up as a Wawa hoagie.

Wawa had water during Mass, fed first responders, and had a cardboard Bishop of Rome so people could take selfies. The skyline had a billboard, “Wawa welcomes Pope Francis.”

Wawa has continued to adapt to meet the needs and tastes of the Philly region, with the Shorti hoagie, introduced in 1992 for the health-conscious.

Convenient, no-fee ATMs were added in 1995. Breakfast sandwiches for the hassled commuter came in 1996, the same year gas service was added.

It continues to expand into other states, but it has never lost its ties to the region.

Wawa remembers its Delaware County roots and brings that experience to hungry people in Montgomery County.  

It stocks regional brands like Herr’s and Tastykakes, along with its own locally-made products. Hoagies come on a Philadelphia staple, Amoroso rolls. And they’re always called hoagies.

It is the only brand big enough and beloved enough by Montco (and Delco, and the Philly region) to treat dignitaries to the hoagie of their choice.

Read more at about this local analysis of Wawa’s growth.

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