This British Actress Is A Huge Fan Of Wawa

Some would argue that those who have never experienced Wawa are missing out on convenience store heaven. The 24-hour one-stop shop has been around for decades, and its sandwiches and other offerings have earned nothing short of a cult following, even earning Wawa the number-one spot on America's list of favorite sandwiches in 2018, Insider reports. While it only has locations in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States (as well as Florida), Wawa seems to have made a name for itself throughout the country — maybe because it's a chain that chooses to refer to its sandwiches as none other than "hoagies." Or perhaps it's the annual Hoagiefest that draws the curiosity of so many.

In 2019, Food & Wine ranked Wawa the second-best convenience store in the nation, just behind the Texas-based mini-chain Buc-ee's. It appears that Wawa's fame has even made its way across the pond. Surprisingly, British actress Kate Winslet, star of "Mare of Easttown," was filled with nothing but excitement when she encountered her first Wawa while filming the popular HBO show (via Today).

What is Wawa?

Wawa's history runs deep in the Pennsylvania area. Believe it or not, the Wawa chain started out as a New Jersey iron foundry back in 1803, its website reports. Nearly 100 years later in 1902, then-owner George Wood relocated the business to Delaware Country, Pennsylvania, where he launched a dairy farm that offered home delivery of milk. It flourished as such for roughly 60 years before the family opened the first Wawa storefront in 1964 to sell their dairy products. And so was born a gem in the world of prepared foods and better-than-decent coffee.

By 1969, Wawa had found its true bread and butter: It began selling freshly made meals, such as hamburgers and fried chicken. And by 1984, it had created a system of built-to-order sandwiches, unknowingly setting itself up for sandwich superstardom (er, hoagie superstardom). Today, the Wawa that East Coasters and Mid-Atlantic dwellers know and love has only continued to expand. And its popularity has clearly stretched beyond oceans, given that even Kate Winslet had to see what all the fuss was about.

Kate Winslet was in awe the first time she visited Wawa

Winslet has spent plenty of time filming near Wawa's home base in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. She stars as detective Mare Sheehan on HBO's "Mare of Easttown," which is filmed in (and takes place in) the county. And she revealed in an episode of the Los Angeles Times podcast "The Envelope" that the area's local publication is what drew her to the store. Winslet had subscribed to Pennsylvania's Delco Times newspaper in order to form a better understanding of her character. Upon reading its pages, the actress realized that several articles mentioned Wawa — and so the local population was clearly obsessed.

"It almost felt like a mythical place," she revealed in the podcast about Wawa. "By the time I got there, I was like, 'It's real!'" Winslet added that it felt like "an honor" to experience the store, since its roots were so deep in Pennsylvania. "To finally walk through the door of a Wawa; I don't know why I felt like, 'Oh, yes, I'm here, I belong. This is where it's at. Wawa.'"

But Winslet didn't try a Wawa hoagie

Some might be disappointed to learn that Winslet didn't quite dive into Wawa's famed hoagies. With options ranging from classic Italian to buffalo chicken, it's honestly hard to believe she wasn't roped in like the rest of us. But to each their own. Winslet preferred to stick with a cup of coffee, she said on "The Envelope" podcast.

Others on the "Mare of Easttown" set, however, did explore Wawa's hoagie offerings. According to HuffPost, Winslet said that her co-star Evan Peters (Detective Colin Zabel) did spring for an iconic sandwich and was not disappointed by its quality. Peters' hoagie of choice is the Wawa Gobbler, a seasonal sandwich that imitates a Thanksgiving dinner on a roll, complete with turkey, stuffing, gravy, and even cranberry sauce. "He was like, 'Oh, yeah, I just eat that thing and I pass out,'" Winslet said of her co-star's reaction. If Kate Winslet raves about the "mythical" convenience store, then it must be worth the hype.