Wawa’s Italian hoagie. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
One eyebrow raised in deep skepticism, we decided to bite, and paid a visit to the ubiquitous convenience chain’s store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank.
You place your order via self-serve touchscreen computer with simple, intuitive steps that include bread type, condiments and choice of six-inch or 10-inch sub, or hoagie, as they call it here.
We opted for the 10-inch regular Italian hoagie with hot peppers ($10). The printer spat out a slip with our order and we paid at the register, as instructed.
That done, we chatted with our hair-netted sandwich maker. She acknowledged that the ordering system’s a little confusing at first, but customers warm up to it, and kids love to push the buttons, she said. Meantime, the cleanliness of the food area, and the fact that only cashiers handle money, earned Wawa credits from us.
Getting right to it: the sub is actually above par. Toasted bread makes it a little denser than most, adding a good chew and crunch. The ham, Genoa-style salami and pepperoni all deliver strong enough flavor, and aren’t overly salty.
The Provolone cheese, though, is extremely mild and almost unnoticeable. Lettuce, tomato slices, a spritz of oil and vinegar and a shake of oregano complete the sandwich like most of the others, but it’s the hot peppers adding a tangy-good kick that raises this one in the competition.