Food  |  News & Politics

Wawa Opens in Columbia Heights With Free Coffee and New Menu Items

The third DC location is now open, with two more opening this summer and fall.

The May 23 ribbon cutting at the Wawa in Columbia Heights. All photos by Elliot Williams.

Early on Thursday morning in Columbia Heights, students ran in to grab snacks before class, and commuters, lured by the free coffee, were greeted by Wally Goose for the opening of Wawa’s third DC location. It wasn’t quite the melee of the chain’s local debut in 2017, when crowds waited more than an hour for a hoagie, but Philly’s Wawa fanaticism has clearly started to spread to Washington. (More free coffee through May 26 doesn’t hurt.) Already, two more locations are on the way: a Tenleytown store will open in June, and an Adams Morgan store is slated for early fall.

“This is what I grew up on,” says 26-year-old Philly native Willy Annan, who used to go to Wawa almost every day in high school. (Go-to order: a pint of half & half lemonade-iced tea, a Sizzli sandwich for breakfast, or a hotdog for lunch.) “You might be underwhelmed when you first come in, but when it’s part of your daily life, that’s when you’re like‚ oh wait, I get this.”

The latest store, at the corner of 14th and Irving streets Northwest, replaces a rotating roster of restaurants, which has included Five Guys, Potbelly, and Pete’s Apizza. It’s also smaller than its DC counterparts—about 6,000 square feet compared to the 9,200-square-foot store downtown and the 7,100-square-foot Georgetown location, which opened in December.

The new location also comes with new menu items, including customizable salad and grain bowls as well as additional milkshake options. But for Columbia Heights Educational Campus teacher David Jaramillo, it’s still all about the hoagies.

“Any sandwich you get, you can put whatever you want on it,” he says. “As a teacher, you need all the good experiences you can get.”

The Columbia Heights Wawa on opening day.
Teachers at the nearby Columbia Heights Education Center pose with Wally Goose.
Representatives from Capital Area Food Bank and a team raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night event participate in a hoagie-building competition. Each participating charity received $1,000.

Assistant Editor

Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before earning a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post,, and, among others. He lives in Bloomingdale.