Kate Winslet on filming in Pennsylvania: Wawa ‘almost felt like a mythical place’

A make-up free Kate Winslet makes a call as she goes out for a walk wearing a tailored jacket, leggings and low-cut cowboy boots on a rainy day in Manhattan's TribeCa Neighborhood

I briefly lived in Pennsylvania and I still think about a handful of wonderful experiences I had in that state. One, I had the best chicken wraps of my life at a wonderful restaurant in Williamsport. Two, I really enjoyed the Philadelphia Inquirer, it’s a great newspaper. Three, Wawa is great. I love a regional convenience-store chain and Wawas are amazing, definitely one of the best regional chains you’ll find in America. Wawa just has a nice vibe to it, good beverage selections, an excellent deli, fresh food, fair prices and they are incredibly convenient. Because they are all over Pennsylvania. So of course Kate Winslet experienced her first Wawa when she was in Delaware County, Pennsylvania to film Mare of Easttown. Kate has been getting good reviews for her starring role in the limited series, although many Penn natives are in their feelings about her accent work. But her love of Wawa will endear her to Pennsylvanians.

Kate Winslet is gaga for Wawa. The British actress is gushing over the American convenience store that she grew to love as she filmed a HBO series about police investigations in Pennsylvania. The Oscar winner said the store played a key part in her research to prepare to star in “Mare of Easttown,” as Delaware County, Penn. detective Mare Sheehan.

“So I subscribed to the Delco Times, so I would read this newspaper every day, and there would regularly be some article about Wawa,” Winslet told The Los Angeles Times’ “Envelope” podcast.

“It almost felt like a mythical place, Wawa,” the actor told the outlet. “And so by the time I got there, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s real!’ It was like Lapland,” she said, laughing. “Walking into a Wawa ultimately felt, it was kind of an honor in a funny way because to me, that was the heart of Delco. To finally walk through the door of a Wawa, I felt like, ‘Ah, yes, I’m here! I belong! This is where it’s at!’ Wawa.”

Winslet said the only thing she bought at the store was coffee, but enjoyed just “hanging out” in the Mid-Atlantic chain. She got a vicarious taste of American fast food from her co-star, Evan Peters, who she told the podcast would stuff himself with the chain’s seasonal “Gobbler” hoagie and then pass out in a food coma.

“It was this gigantic sub, basically — or hoagie — and it’s like turkey and the stuffing,” Winslet said in the interview. “It’s basically a Thanksgiving meal in a hoagie.”

[From Page Six]

Americans really do love our regional chains and regional quirks. Wawa is a way of life for Pennsylvanians, much like Massachusetts people associate so strongly with Dunkin Donuts, Georgians love Krystals, etc. I feel like non-Americans tend to view Americans as a monolithic culture and if they took the time, they would see that there are so many of these weird and delightful regional quirks. My point: don’t make fun of Winslet on this! Wawa is great and I like that she was really embracing the research for the role.

Kate Winslet keeps bundled up as she touches down at LAX

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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92 Responses to “Kate Winslet on filming in Pennsylvania: Wawa ‘almost felt like a mythical place’”

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  1. Watson says:

    That seasonal hoagie sounds delightful. No sarcasm. I live for turkey/stuffing combos!

    • Renee says:

      The gobblers are truly amazing, no joke. You can also get it in a bowl, I can’t wait until they’re back, lol.

    • Anony83 says:

      I got through college with Wawa meatball hoagies as my “ack I’m freaking out and need something comforting” item of choice; their hoagies are delicious and that gobbler sounds a-MAY-zing.

    • Becks1 says:

      It’s amazing. I love it in a bowl too. It’s just such pure comfort food.

  2. FITTB85 says:

    What people don’t understand is that Wawa isn’t just 7-11. The deli counter w/ made-to-order food is AMAZING! You have to experience it to understand.

    I moved to Philly from state where everything closes at 11pm, going to Wawa after drunk nights out was a true joy!

    • Esmom says:

      I’m from Chicago and have had a hard time understanding exactly what Wawa is. I thought it was a grocery store. Your explanation helps me visualize it better, thanks.

      I’m enjoying the show, other than being hyperaware of their accent work, and people seem to think there might be another season but I’m pretty sure it’s a one and done limited series.

      • dogmom says:

        @Esmom I think it’s one and done too, but my BF is certain there will be some 11th hour cliffhanger setting up a second season. I really hope the bad guy isn’t Evan Peters or Guy Pearce, but it’s probably GP because otherwise what is he doing there?

      • Esmom says:

        A second season would be great, not gonna lie. I don’t think it’s Peters. I hear you about Pearce but I read that the part was originally cast with someone less famous who dropped out and Pearce was brought in by Kate as a favor since they are friends. So I’m hoping it’s not him either although it’s plausible.

      • Bettyrose says:

        Yeah Pearce is the reddest herring of them all but thanks for that explanation that the part wasn’t originally written for a celeb. I’m not yet convinced the show won’t do us dirty with an unknown villain introduced at the 11th hour. After last week’s abrupt reveal, I’m not trusting the writers with the craft of subtly any more.

      • dogmom says:

        I’m wondering if the priest who’s Mare’s cousin is the culprit? When the culprit threw the new girl into the dungeon, his body type (as best I could see) was tall and lean/lanky, and so far the only castmembers with that body type are EP, GP and the cousin priest who has only been seen in a couple episodes.

      • Bettyrose says:

        Dog mom – interesting theory. The only thing is that the other priest is definitely involved in Erin’s death. I don’t think he killed her but he gave her a ride earlier in the evening which is why he had her bike. So if one priest is obstructing justice in the murder investigation and the other is a sexual sadist/kidnapper… the message could get icky.

    • LaraW” says:

      So I know 7-11 is gross in the US, but they are amazing in China and Japan. There was a 7-11 near my workplace in China that had lunch specials— I swear I got food from there at least twice a week. And Japan’s convenience stores are a different class entirely.

      Now I want to baozhi.

      Also I didn’t realize Wawa was a PA thing. We used to go on roadtrips up and down the East coast and I guess I never paid attention where the Wawa stations were. They’ve been in the DC metro area for a few years now.

      • Bettyrose says:

        I loved my 7-11 conbini in Japan. With the fresh food and useable beauty products, I quickly stopped associating it with the US version.

      • Anners says:

        I concur! Loved my 7-11 in Taiwan. They had a ready to eat cold noodle dish that I ate at least weekly. Loved it! The sauce was delightful. The smell of red bean hotdogs and tea eggs cooking, however… 🤢

      • Ann says:

        They have WaWa in Connecticut too, at least did when I lived there. It was right by my dorm for two years, everyone went there. It was great. I remember their giant drinks and their subs.

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        Wawa originated in PA and their dairy was there when I worked there in the 90’s. Wawa means wandering goose in whatever Native American language is from the area of PA Wawa was originally from. There’s a flying goose on their logo. I have fond memories of my time at Wawa and always seek them out whenever I can find one during travels. I used to only eat from them if I had been the one to do the cleaning at whatever store I was working at because I was the only one who cleaned the nitty gritty stuff that got overlooked. Things like the fountain soda machine, coffee makers, hot dog rollers, the entire deli.

      • FilmTurtle says:

        About a decade ago, there was a Japanese convenience store in West Hollywood that tried to make a go of it for a few years; they spent some money on the building, but it never took off and quickly disappeared. I really liked it, though; great food, not overpriced like everything is now in WH, all kinds of different products.

      • Elisa says:

        FilmTurtle, I remember that! There was one in Downtown LA too. Can’t remember the name…

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        I thought Rutters was the PA convenience store of choice…

    • rainbowkitty says:

      I’m in Maryland and Wawa just started blowing up here a couple of years ago. There’s one close to where I live and I actually crave a sourdough melt or a panini.

    • Kcat says:

      Wawa was my client, and the guy in charge of the purchasing was amazing. He would bang on about the quality of the meat they bought, and how terrible that major sandwich chain’s was in comparison. I’m in Chicago now, but would never buy food from any other convenience store. Wawa is the best!

  3. Merricat says:

    I love the Wawa! I lived just outside of Philly for almost three years. Man, Pennsylvania is beautiful.

  4. Sandra says:

    We have a few Wawas now in Virginia where I live. I only go there for gasoline (it’s a lot cheaper) but it is always crazy busy in the store. People obviously love the deli counter!

  5. NicDix says:

    They are also in Maryland.

    • Snuffles says:

      Yeah, I went to John’s Hopkins and the Wawa store was a big thing for the students on campus. Especially for the fraternity that lived above it.

    • smcollins says:

      I live on the Eastern Shore and Wawa’s are *everywhere* but quickly getting outnumbered by Royal Farms. When I was pregnant RF’s fried chicken was heaven, but Wawa’s subs & sandwiches are pretty effing amazing. I grew up in western Maryland and Sheetz was where it was at (might still be, not sure). High’s was another good one back in the day, found mostly in southwestern PA.

      • Mc says:

        I love the endless Wawa vs RoFo debate. They are both amazing and I can’t choose.

      • Anf says:

        Sheetz is definitely still around in Maryland

      • Anf says:

        Sheetz is definitely still around in Maryland

      • Becks1 says:

        Sheetz is around but really only in western maryland. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in central maryland or the eastern shore.

        I love Royal Farms but really only for their fried chicken. Wawa is the whole package for me.

        And you’re right @smcollins, its funny to drive down 50 and see the Wawas and RoFos popping up lol.

    • The Recluse says:

      I don’t think there were any Wawa’s in Prince George’s during the 28 years I lived there!
      And now I feel ripped off. I missed out on that experience!

  6. Busyann says:

    Sooo, when I first moved to DC, something happened to my car and I needed to catch a Lyft to the autoparts store. It just happened to be next to a Wawa and my driver cared more about getting a “pretty tasty sandwich” after dropping me off that he missed the exit for the place I was going to twice! I was like “what on earth is Wawa?” He kept telling me about the sandwiches, and I’m not a snob, but I got food poisoning once from eating a 7-11 hot dog, so I don’t eat food from convenience stores, but this guy kept going on and on about it. He finally dropped me off and I watched him drive over to Wawa and almost run into the store. It was a weird experience and I was definitely like “where have I moved????”

  7. Wiglet Watcher says:

    I thought this was going to be another elitist, disconnected comment from Winslet, but thankfully it’s not. It’s just a positive cultural difference she got to experience.

  8. Tate says:

    I live in New England. I first experienced a WaWa’s while at a basketball tournament in Philly. WaWa’s is amazing.

  9. Mandy says:

    Rick Scott got Wawa to come to Florida, and it is the only good thing he ever did as governor.

  10. EMc says:

    Its so weird to me that Wawa is associated with Pennsylvania. I grew up in western PA and didn’t see a Wawa until I moved to Virginia. We had Sheetz, which is similar but not as nice. Wawa in PA must be a central/eastern PA thing!

    • Lucy2 says:

      I went to school in central Pennsylvania, and it’s all Sheetz there, but pretty much everything east of that is Wawa. I live in New Jersey and you can’t go more than a mile or two without a Wawa! Their breakfast sandwiches are excellent, and their made to order food gets better and better.

      • Noelle says:

        As someone who grew up in Scranton and Pittsburgh, I want to echo this. Wawa is not a statewide thing – it is an eastern PA chain. We have Sheetz in central and SWPA. People have actual debates on which is better – Sheetz or Wawa. This debate is such a thing that even our Lt. Gov, John Fetterman (who’s from SWPA), makes jokes about it.

  11. Midge says:

    Wawa in the house!!! (yes, I’m from PA and yes I used to have that accent)

    • Esmom says:

      I work with three people from Baltimore and they have the same accent. It’s interesting to me, I never realized the Delco accent was so similar.

      • Becks1 says:

        Depending on where they are from in Baltimore, the accents vary widely. Some parts have almost a southern accent, and some have a very distinctive Baltimore accent but it varies. My dad and mom both have strong Baltimore accents but one is east baltimore and one is west baltimore, lol.

  12. Lindy says:

    I went to college in New Jersey and there was a Wawa at the edge of campus. One of the very few 24hr places with food. We called it The Wa for some reason? I have such happy memories of running there for snacks and hot cocoa after playing in my first big snowstorm (I grew up in the subtropics with no snow). This makes me want to go back for a visit to the Way!

    • ib says:

      Wait were you Princeton ‘12??? I think I know you 😂 ‘14er here.

      • Lindy says:

        Way way way older, alas haha! Late 90’s, but it makes me happy that every new generation of P’ton kids gets to enjoy the glory of the Wa!

  13. Maxime duCamp says:

    This may be a “me” thing rather than anything against Wawa but I lived in Center City Philadelphia for 7 years and I just never got what all the fuss was about? For any Philly CBers, it was the Wawa near Rittenhouse Sq. (I think it was at the base of a mid-rise apartment/condo building?) so it was relatively small and I don’t recall it having much of a deli counter; that particular store really was just like your average 7-11. Then again, I grew up in Dunkin territory and never liked their coffee so maybe I’m just hard to impress 😉

    • Persephone says:

      The Wawas get better as you went from Center City outwards to the burbs and the country.

    • Merricat says:

      Lol. We lived in Boston for two years, and every T station had a Dunkins. I thought it was hilarious.

      • MaGnomer says:

        I really want a cruller now. Haven’t lived in Boston for 25 years, but was raised on those donuts. <3

    • Jezebel's Lacefront says:

      The Wawas in Center City are notoriously small. Ya gotta go into the neighborhood, suburban, and rural ones to get a better experience.

  14. Jackie says:

    OMG Royal Farms chicken! It’s better than KFC and lately, even Popeyes.

  15. Winnie Cooper’s Mom says:

    Is Wawa kind of like Bucee’s? Bucee’s is big across TX and is an incredible place.

    • Nopity Nope says:

      I’ll co-sign the Bucee love. I made my husband and kids go to one recently in AL while visiting b/c I’d been to one in Texas and it blew.my.mind.

    • WintryMix says:

      This was my thought process too–like “hmmm from the sound of it, Wawa must be to PA what Bucee’s is to Texas.”

  16. readingissexy says:

    Love this post about the US’s regional differences!

    As a long-time Californian who lived in Rhode Island for 6 years during my PhD program, I grew to love Rhode Island and its regional quirks. I also began to understand and love the US’/ New Enlgand’s regional quirks. I tried Wawa in Jersey, Rhode Island’s Awful Awful & Quahogs & NY system weiners, a creeme from Vermont, etc.

    I also better understood why some New Englanders knew right away that I was not from the region—California has its own culture, too! I lived here so long and was too young to recognize it at the time.

    • Burpsy says:

      As a born-and-raised Rhode Islander who moved to Missouri a few years ago, your post makes me so happy! I’ll be back in RI for my yearly visit in July, and I think I look forward to the food and drinks from my favorite local places just as much as I look forward to seeing my family and friends, tbh.

      A note on Dunkin (which, though it is obviously a Massachusetts institution, there is a Dunkin approximately within a mile of anywhere in RI, so there’s that): I’m not sure if this is universally true, but I’ve found that Dunkin in the south/midwest is just…not the same experience, truly. The coffee seems slightly different? And, good lord, the ordering process. As a New Englander, I want to order my coffee and maybe a donut/sandwich, pay and get out of the way for the next person. I once stood behind a couple in Gatlinburg, Tennessee while they asked the cashier about every single donut they offered, and she gladly explained them all! My small-talk adverse, impatient NE self was raging that day.

      • readingissexy says:

        BURPSY, LOL. Okay, so I am from Central Coast CA and Norcal…When I arrived in Rhode Island/ New England, I kept encountering what I perceived as rude retail staff/baristas/waiters, etc. And likewise, the folks who encountered me always knew I wasn’t from the region. I realized a few months after living in RI that the shopping culture was different in New England, and people do not engage in small talk/niceties! Too funny, LOL. Honestly, I love RI, by the way, and I would have lived there if I found a professorship there. We ended up moving back to CA, because that’s where I got a job.

        Also, yes on Dunkin!!! We live in CA and the Dunkins here are NOT the same.

      • Doulton says:

        “My small-talk adverse, impatient NE self was raging that day.”


        I think it’s why I can’t get along in Ohio. I grew up in the part of Connecticut which more than vaguely disapproved of fame and fretted about celebrities moving as close inside the state as Westport.

  17. AnnaC says:

    I love Wawa, though I left NJ before they were everywhere (we only had 7-11 growing up). I live in New England now and it’s all about “Cumby’s,” aka Cumberland Farms (a better comparison to Wawa than Dunkin).

    To me though, having lived in TX for a decade, nothing compares to Bucee’s. Sure, at Wawa they make amazing sandwiches, but at Bucee’s you can get a great sandwich, snacks, drinks, has up your car, outfit yourself head to toe and, in some of the stores, you can also buy furniture and decorate your home.

    • Dazed and Confused says:

      Bucee’s is a category unto itself!! When I visited a friend in Houston years ago, she took me there and my mind just couldn’t fathom the scope of that place. It really has everything.

      Also, definitely the best “truck stop” bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Just fascinating.

      We are planning to drive to the East Coast summer after this (not quite ready to post-Covid travel just yet…even fully vaccinated) and now I can’t wait to check out a Wawas!

    • pottymouth pup says:

      I grew up in NE Philly/Lower Bucks, the first Wawa I saw took over the Cumberland Farm on Bristol Rd – at that time they were small convenience store/gas stations. By the time I graduated from college and moved back to Philly, the chain had grown exponentially but they didn’t turn into the bigger broad menu stores they are now until about 20-25 years ago

      and now, as I typed that, realize that they’ve been the much nicer stores for a long time and that I’m older than dirt. The only thing they’re missing now is drive thru, but I heard one just opened w/a drive thru so I guess there will be renovations to the 3 that are within a a couple of miles of my house. Per the notice on my Wawa ap, they now offer delivery in my area too

  18. Liz version 700 says:

    I adore WaWa. I used to stop there for gas in VA when driving back to law school after visiting my parents. You could get gas, a drink, a sandwich and a few groceries for breakfast the next day :). And the bathrooms were clean.

  19. Jensays says:

    Wawa is great, but ANOTHER treasure in PA is Wegmans. That place is incredible!!!

    • Indywom says:

      We just got Wegmans. Love it.

      • Liz version 700 says:

        We got our first Wegmans a few years ago. People will flag me down asking for directions to Wegmans…aka the promised land

    • AnnaC says:

      Yes to Wegman’s! They are in Massachusetts now and even though I live in RI, I’ll do the hour drive to the closest one a couple times a month. Fortunately it’s also by the closest Costco to me and the mega Whole Foods to make it a very worthwhile trip.

    • Lucy2 says:

      We have Wegmans here in New Jersey also, the closest one to me is about 45 minutes. I love going there though! I hope they continue expanding towards my area.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      I think Wegman’s started in NY, didn’t they? I used to schlep to Downingtown to go to the Wegmans when it opened there but now they’re everywhere in the Philly burbs which has forced the Giant & the Acme to step up their game as well

      • Bess says:

        Yes. Wegmans started in Rochester, NY I believe. the stores are wonderful.

      • Keats says:

        Rochesterian here, they started here! I worked in one growing up and there were 4 within walking distance of my house. Never been to a Wawa but I love sandwiches so I gotta go

    • Sandra says:

      Yes! We have several of them in northern Virginia and Wegmans has ruined me for other grocery chains! I can’t wait for the food bars to re-open!

    • The Recluse says:

      We got a Wegman’s in Prince George’s County, MD, near DC, a few years ago. I loved it. I either shopped there or at the local Giant on 450.
      You guys are making me miss the East Coast so badly.

  20. Piratewench says:

    I live in NJ right “owe-ver duh bridge” as people around here say, from Philly. Wawa has always been part of my life, when I lived in Philly and here in the suburbs. As a kid we would walk two blocks over, in the burbs mind you where having conveniences in nice walking distance is a luxury, and my dad would get his cigarettes, my mom would get deli meat and cheese, deli rolls, we would pick some cheap candy maybe, and we would get hot chocolate if we were lucky. It’s a great place. As an adult I’ve always relied on it for easy soups, salads, a few grocery items when needed. When family comes from out of town we literally get them wawa hoagies, it’s what they come looking for!
    It’s reliable and quality food. Perfect for stopping by on your way out to a picnic or the beach. Now they have gas too so it’s basically got it all hahaha. Props to Wawa, yo.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I grew up in that area. I was thinking the accent they do on the show was very exaggerated, and then I’ve caught myself saying several of the words the same way, LOL.

  21. Reece says:

    When I go to Philly (I will one day) Wawa’s is definitely on the list!

  22. Indywom says:

    A good friend of mine was from Philadelphia and she always talked of visiting the Wawa stores when she went back for a visit. The first place she took me to in Penn was a Wawa store. I get the hype.

  23. AnnaC says:

    The other good thing about Wawa, specific to NJ, is they always seem to have enough staff at their gas pumps to keep it moving. In NJ, no self serve and too often it’s one person, two if you’re lucky, having to manage multiple pumps and it can be a wait.

  24. Jennifer says:

    When I lived in PA there weren’t any near me. I have to say, living in PA was the darkest, saddest and worst time in my life. I can’t fathom going back for that reason alone. It has so many beautiful areas and I realize it was all my situation at the time for me but man, oh, man…what a dark time and I have nothing but terrible memories in that state. Maybe if I was near a Wawa it wouldn’t have been so terrible, haha.

  25. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    The Texas counterpart is Buc-ee’s. In fact, the New Braunfels’ location is the world’s largest. Really. There’s a world’s largest convenience store lmao.

    I’m enjoying her show. It’s not bad.

    • unattributed speculation says:

      Texas Hill Country is probably my favorite place in the U.S., after Chicago

  26. BeatrizRodriguez says:

    Jersey girl here. I was raised on Wawa. It is amazing. It is like a mixture between a high end 7-11 and an upscale cafeteria that has a large menu with tons of hot/cold food, drinks, and snacks made to order. Some is serve your own. They also have precut veggies, salads, fruit, fresh yogurt & granola, etc. They even have special seasonal food and drinks (like at Thanksgiving, the “Gobbler” hoagie and pumpkin latte, etc.) If you are in a picky mood and have no idea what to eat, go to Wawa. You’ll find it there!

  27. JanetDR says:

    My sister’s family moved to PA many years ago. Her husband went first to begin his new job and look at houses. I recall her saying that he kept talking about Wawa and she had no idea why he thought it was so great. My niece’s vowels aren’t too strange, but my nephew was younger when they moved and I’m often distracted by how he sounds 😂

  28. Ann says:

    I miss Phila and I miss Wawa!

  29. Velvet Elvis says:

    No Wawas where I live in Virginia. Sheetz is the cool convenience store here. Love their walk in beer coolers.

  30. Shelly says:

    In Georgia it’s Wafflehouse, not Krystals, whatever that is. Never heard of it.

  31. souperkay says:

    Sheetz has the best fried snack type foods, Royal Farms has jojo potatoes & chewy ice, and Wawa has the nice deli. I live in Georgia now and I miss them all! It’s so hard to find a good hoagie down here, they use soft hot dog bun like bread everywhere. My kingdom for an Italian bakery!

  32. Kimberly says:

    I travel for work and LOVE LOVE LOVE regional chains!!! Farmer Boys over in&out any day!!!

    Caribou coffee over DD!!

    Those HEB plus stores !!

    Sorry white castle and Freddy’s…didn’t make the list

    Sheetz are amazing!!! and Braum’s who doesn’t like to get some grocery store items while grabbing a milkshake?

    oh and Stripes with a Laredo taco inside? yes, please! the fact I can buy a whole grilled chicken with the jalapeño trimmings and get gas at the same time??? genius!!!

  33. GamerGirl says:

    I moved to South Jersey for a job, and asked a new coworker for advice on finding a place to live. She happened to be getting married/leaving her place, and offered it up to me. Her selling point: “Two blocks from a WaWa!” I had no idea what it was, but figured I should visit if that was the big selling point. I was there almost every day for the two years we were in the area.

  34. dying to know where the author ate in Williamsport that was so memorable? Also agree, Wawa is the shitz!