A convenience store that started out as a dairy company, an eatery known for its hoagies, and definitely not what Joe Walsh was referring to when he sang, "Oh no, here comes a pack of wah-wah's," today we're not talking about Wawa's history and rise to roadside grab-and-go food icon, or even the sammies that made it famous. No, today, the focus is on dinner.
Yes indeed, Wawa's dinner menu (which is only available after 4 p.m., mind you) first arrived on the scene in 2021 and since its supper lineup's humble beginnings, Wawa has added some pretty ... interesting fast food dinners to the menu — we're talking about hybrid eats such as nacho-inspired burgers and cheesesteak-style fries. And this writer ordered 10 of the bird's dinner dishes — both the conventional and unconventional — to find out which of Wawa's grab-and-go supper options are worthy of a weekday dinner and which need to fly the coup. After carefully tasting and ranking (more on that later) each dish, without further ado, here they are, Wawa's dinner sides, ranked worst to first.
Read more: Frozen Pizzas, Ranked From Worst To Best
10. Nacho Cheeseburger
Sweet foodie, observe our photo of this burger — do you see how quaint Wawa's famous Nacho Cheeseburger looks in its to-go box? Indeed, it looks so timid, so docile, so delicious. But then we picked it up and released the beast. The cheese beast. Because while Wawa's reports its nacho burger's beef patty is slathered in chipotle sauce, fresh salsa, lettuce, and jalapeno, it neglected to inform innocent eaters that this nachos-turned-burger creation comes with lots and lots and lots of nacho-style cheddar cheese. Dear Lord, the cheese.
When lifting this abysmal creature (nacho burger) from its nesting place (the Wawa's delivery box) the cheese was already dripping everywhere and the bottom bun was grossly soggy. Then, we angered the burger by biting into it and it staged a counterattack -- the cheese exploded everywhere. In our fingers, in our hair, it was horrid.
Not only did the copious amounts of cheese get on everything in a 1-foot radius, but it completely overpowered the burger's other ingredients. You can indeed taste a bit of salsa and lettuce in this dinner dish and a vague spice-like flavor indicates some jalapeños and a splatter of chipotle sauce lives on the burger's landscape. It's the cheese, however, that overpowers everything. So for failing so utterly at its concept and being, quite literally the messiest, most ridiculous burger we've ever tried, the Nacho cheeseburger has been slotted as the absolute worst dinner item at Wawa's.
9. Spicy Cherry Pepper Relish Cheeseburger
When we ventured into taking a bite out of Wawa's Spicy Cherry Pepper Relish Cheeseburger, we did not know we were biting ourselves into the bigfoot of convenience foods. See, when the Spicy Cherry Pepper Relish Cheeseburger was released last year, Wawa reported its ingredients allegedly featured a burger patty stacked with American cheese and bacon smothered in the spiciest of cherry pepper relish. You know, hence its name.
However, when we bit into our iteration of the spicy cherry pepper relish dinner dish, we were in the middle of reveling in how crunchy and prominent the bacon was when we realized something — there was absolutely no spicy cherry pepper relish on our burger. At first we thought maybe Wawa got our order mixed up, but upon further examination, we found that Wawa's spicy cherry pepper relish is a rare and elusive beast. The good Wawa(ians) of the internet report that the convenience store is constantly running out of the sauce — in fact, one YouTuber bought the burger of legend at two different Wawas and didn't get the relish either time.
At this point, the cherry pepper relish hamburger is just a plain bacon cheeseburger. So until it changes its name and starts living its truth, due to lacking literally the main ingredient, this bacon and cheese hamburger in cherry pepper relish clothing is the second worst dinner eat at Wawa. But at least it won't get in your hair.
8. Crispy Chicken Classic
On the heels of perhaps the messiest (literally, for the Nacho Cheeseburger, and figuratively, in the case of the Cherry Pepper Relish Cheeseburger) dinner creations we've tasted at Mashed, is the less exciting and just not that great Crispy Chicken Classic sandwich. As if to brace you for its mediocrity, Wawa's product description of the Crispy Chicken Classic, oddly, doesn't state it comes with anything but a crispy chicken patty. However, the sandwich's picture shows it slathered with mayo and pickles -- which our order came with. And as long-time lovers of convenience store fried chicken, we have to say the Crispy Chicken Signature sandwich was one of the most disappointing convenience store chicken creations we've tasted.
Where Wawa's Angus patties are surprisingly high-quality, its crispy in-theory chicken classic patty is pretty subpar. The chicken is, as you may have guessed, not crunchy at all, and, even after being drenched, and we mean drenched to the point we almost couldn't taste the chicken in some bites, with mayo, the patty still manages to be somewhat dry. However, the creamy mayo and crunchy pickles do make for a tasty enough silk-like combo with this mid-tier chicken patty. But while all of its components are there and it didn't fall apart on us as we ate it, the chicken classic was just not tasty enough for us. Skip this -- you'd be much better off making a copycat Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich at home. That said, it's our pick for third worst Wawa's din din exclusive entree. S
7. BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger
At first, when we saw Wawa carries a Bacon-buff burger that claims to pair bacon, tomato, and pickles with the taste of sharp cheddar cheese and sweet BBQ sauce, we thought the brand was going to get in good with our Southern side. However, the bird's BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger disappointed us.
When biting into this BBQ-blast of a dinner dish, we were indeed hit with a beautiful BBQ sauce and lots of pickle. However, the bacon barely shows up in the taste profile. But the problem is not the lack of bacon, but its positioning. This burger's bacon pieces are all buried under its other ingredients. And even then, its ingredients aren't well balanced -- we found we were either taking a bite of straight-up beef patty or a big pile of lettuce and tomato and pickles. And we never quite managed to taste the cheese.
We hypothesize this happened because the burger had been overstuffed. We believe because there were so many veggies, instead of sticking on top of the beef patty, they were forced further back into the burger when we took a bite. And the poor cheese, like the bacon, it never stood a chance at being tasted.
While tasty, the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger suffers from the sins of poor ingredient placement and being far too overstuffed with goodies to fully enjoy each component. And so its poor execution has left it being resigned to mid-tier Wawa dinner item status.
6. Chili Cheese Fries
We are now entering the domain of Wawa's most experimental eats — the loaded fry. First up on the fry-fully fun roster is the Chili Cheese Fries. And we have to say, Wawa obviously isn't cheap, because it did not hold back on the chili in these fries.
There was so much of the stuff piled on our beautiful bed of fried carbohydrates that the box these loaded fries came in was heavy enough to throw at an assailant — which is also why our first taste of this dish was nothing but chili (rather high-quality chili at that). It was only after working for it (aka, eating through the top layer and shimming the box), that we found a thin cheese layer of the typical nacho-cheese variety hidden underneath the generous meat and beans. Unfortunately, we also discovered the fries were soggy. But we found, foodies, that this was a classic case of the longer you eat it, the better it gets.
Soggy fries aside (we can forgive this when they're covered with delicious chili flavor, and since their texture is kind of reminiscent of a chili cheese tater tot casserole), not only are all the ingredients there, but their combined flavors are delicious. However, there was far less cheese than the beans and meat. So while the cheese was more prominent than the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger's bacon, it was still slight enough to have us craving more -- which is why the Chili Cheese Fries were destined for sixth place.
5. Buffalo Chicken Fries
"Absolutely baffling." That's what we thought the first time we feasted our eyes upon Wawa's Buffalo Chicken Fries. We were under the assumption that these Buffalo-sauce-icious fries would come topped with chicken nuggets or pieces of diced chicken -- but they did not. Instead, we were faced with three large chicken tenders laid atop a fry mountain. So while the sparing yet not sparse amount of Buffalo sauce on this dish had us excited (a little Buffalo sauce goes a long way, after all), we had no idea how we were going to eat this thing. Eventually, we opted to stick a fork straight through one Buffalo-sauce-covered chicken tender and hope for the best.
After our first taste, our initial thought was "boy, Wawa's chicken is un-crispy in just about every form it takes." Our second was, "wow, that's delicious." These ingredients do make for an unmatched taste combination. The fries themselves were still far from crispy, but once again, this was forgiven because they melded with the savory flavor of the chicken and sauce so beautifully — and that's because unlike the chili cheese fries, this sauce-loaded bowl of fried goodness' ingredients is perfectly balanced.
However, while the ingredient amounts are perfect, the struggle of biting and cutting up the full-sized chicken tenders in the fries cannot be ignored. That is to say, the Buffalo Chicken Fries concept needs better execution (and smaller chicken pieces).
4. Cheesesteak Fries
Wawa's fourth-best dinner dish and best-tasting loaded fries are the bird's Cheesesteak Fries. A cheese and meat filled fry delight that puts the "cheese" in "classic Philly cheesesteak recipe," this dinner dish stands out against the rest of its aforementioned brothers-in-loaded-fries because it has both a delicious taste and great execution.
These fries are loaded with delicious steak and the same nacho-y cheddar cheese sauce that was piled onto the chili cheese version. However, there is a far more generous amount of cheese to blend with the meat than in the chili-er fries. And while this dinner dish's fries are still soggy, their texture effortlessly melds into the meat and cheese in a surprisingly delicious way. However, for all its tastiness, the Philly cheesesteak fries' puts the "cheese" in "cheesesteak" a little too hard.
The cheese can sometimes overpower the meat, and you have to mix up the whole fries-and-meat-and-cheese concoction to balance things out. This is why these fries could not beat out our third pick Wawa dinner entry.
3. French Onion Cheeseburger
We made it — it's finally time to introduce Wawa's Marine Corps. And in third place and third in command is a burger that speaks with an accent. Wawa not only stacks Swiss cheese, garlic aioli, and caramelized onions between its French Onion Cheeseburger's two buns, but all of these alleged ingredients taste loud, proud, and delicious.
This burger's onions are indeed caramelized, plentiful, and have a sweet yet salty flavor that adds a lot of extra flavor to the French Onion Cheeseburger equation. The Swiss cheese is as high quality and creamy an ingredient as the delectable garlic aioli. And rather than overpowering each other, all of these ingredients bring out the other's best qualities and bring out the high-quality taste of Wawa's burger patty.
However, despite how sweet and creamy and just overall delicious this burger is we have to deduct concept points. The garlic aioli made our bottom bun a little too soggy. And our second in command of Wawa's dinner-time all-star team not only has all its ingredients accounted for and working with each other rather than fighting for taste dominance, but it's also fluffy, soft, and sog-free.
2. Garlic Knots
Don't look at us like that — like we're crazy for picking garlic knots, a simple and straightforward dish, as our second place champion of Wawa's dinner items. Yes, we've tried such extravagant Wawa fast food eats as the French Onion Cheeseburger and Buffalo Fries, but even the simplest foods have the potential to blow your taste buds away. And these garlic knots blew us out of the water with their sheer high-quality deliciousness.
This Wawa's dinner eat tasted like fluffy pieces of freshly made pizza crust. These were on par with the sort of bread you'd find at a genuine bakery. There was just the right amount of garlic topping spread throughout each of these buttery, garlic dusted little guys to make them into a delectable, flavorful, and munch-able treat. However, while simple foods are indeed sometimes the most capable of knocking your socks off, if an eatery can nail a more complicated food concept, then, well, that's going to knock out your whole wardrobe. And that's what the chain did with our Wawa's dinner elite's commander-in-chief.
1. All American Cheeseburger
A distinctly American dish by greasy, meat-filled nature, how does one define the idea of an All American Cheeseburger? Well, Wawa's defines its version of a star spangled burger as a dinner dish brimming with a mix of ketchup and mustard under a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, and two delicious layers of American cheese. And we define Wawa's All American Cheeseburger as the best dinner item in the chain's supper-time lineup.
Can that many flavors in one burger can be balanced and not overwhelm each other? Yes, we and Wawa's say. All of this burger's ingredients are not only accounted for, but you can taste all of them — the crunchy veg, the beautiful cheese, the tangy mustard, and savory ketchup perfectly melding together in every bite. Oh, and those sauces, while plentiful and poignant, weren't laid on so thick that the bottom bun turned out soggy.
An excessive sandwich that has mastered the art of ingredient moderation, the All American Cheeseburger's multitude of flavors is like a Fourth of July firework display in your mouth. And by nailing its ingredients, its taste balance, and its general concept, this hamburger smashed Wawa's other dinner menu items out of the park with an all-American baseball bat.
Well look at that, the "more on that later" part of our ranking we mentioned in the intro is finally here. So about our ranking process -- our ranking criteria were simple. We judged these eats based on whether all their advertised ingredients were accounted for, how well the ingredients worked together, their taste, and overall concept — as in, did Wawa pull off the wild and whacky food concept it was trying, or was it a miss? After tallying each dish's performance in these categories, we then assembled the list we presented before you today.
Read the original article on Mashed.