Wawa pizza tastes like cheese-topped cardboard. So why does it exist?

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Launched this summer time as a part of the chain’s newest menu enlargement, the pizza at Wawa conjures up only one query: Why?

The apparent reply is that Wawa is on a mission to stretch the boundaries of what a comfort retailer will be. Final yr, the Pennsylvania-based chain launched Angus beef hamburgers (and fries) to its dinner menu within the hope of attracting clients past the noon hoagie and late-night munchies crowd.

Pizza was the following logical addition: Its recognition is plain, and it may be ready, when utilizing premade crusts and commercial-grade toppings, with a naked minimal of coaching.

I’ve sampled pizza from a handful of regional Wawa areas, together with one in downtown D.C., one other within the Tenleytown neighborhood and a 3rd on Riggs Highway in Hyattsville, Md. You possibly can’t order the flatbreads till 4 p.m., and from what I’ve witnessed and skilled, the transition interval will be making an attempt for workers.

Everytime you punch up a pie on the contact display screen kiosk, a show display screen on the pizza station begins beeping, alerting workers at different prep counters to leap on the order.

The beep isn’t all the time heeded. The primary time I ordered a pair of pies on the downtown Wawa, the girl apparently answerable for pizza didn’t hear it, her consideration was targeted on different issues. When she did lastly discover it, she requested who was ready for pizza. I raised my hand, and he or she apologized for the delay with such sincerity that I wished to hug her in return.

One other time on the similar location, a special employee heard the beep and audibly sighed. “It’s so counterproductive,” he complained.

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I wasn’t certain what he meant, however my takeaway was this: Pizza appears to place a burden on an already busy staff. It could actually take as much as 20 to half-hour to get a pie into your fingers. That is comfort retailer pizza with out the comfort — for purchasers and workers.

You finest order forward for pies except you take pleasure in testing your will energy towards the deep and huge Tastykake stand.

The pizzas are cooked in a TurboChef oven counting on high-velocity impinged air expertise, which dramatically cuts down the cook dinner time. From my observations, the pies bake in about 5 minutes, turning out rounds with crispy, properly browned crusts.

The ovens seem like brutally environment friendly and constant. If there are any inconsistencies among the many pies, it’s often because of human error, which isn’t to say the workers is accountable for the commonly inferior pizza at Wawa. However they’ve the flexibility to make a crummy pizza even crummier.

The primary pair of pies I sampled have been excellent examples of human intrusion: I watched as an worker ladled on the purple sauce and utilized the cheese and toppings. Hers was a parsimonious strategy, leaving a superb inch or inch-and-a-half of outer crust untouched by any ingredient. The issue with this methodology is that it exposes the sheer mediocrity of the crust, a frozen spherical that bakes right into a dry, cardboardy base bereft of the thrill of well-developed dough.

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Apart from toppings, you’ve gotten different selections together with your pizza: You possibly can choose between a 14-inch or 16-inch pie and, if you happen to want, you may select a garlic-seasoned crust. I’d keep away from the latter — except you take pleasure in mainlining garlic powder. I imply, it’s like somebody spilled your complete contents of a garlic powder shaker into the dough.

These first pies, it turned out, have been aberrations. The pie-makers at different areas loaded on the shredded mozzarella and toppings, proper to the very fringe of the pie. The bonanza of toppings helps smother the crust, which is a real act of kindness, whereas offering the one factor that makes most, non-Neapolitan pies so interesting: CHEESE! AND MORE OF IT!

Which brings me again to my unique query: Why has Wawa entered the pizza sport when the chain brings so little to the desk? At finest, Wawa pizza is a cheese-delivery system and maybe at 2 a.m. (or on some lonely freeway in the midst of nowhere), when you don’t have any higher choices, that alone will suffice.

However with regards to pizza, I want one thing with a character, any character, not this generic doormat with cheese. Most chain supply pizzas, I’d enterprise, have extra character than these wane Wawa pies.

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