Wawa, the ubiquitous roadside fixture that fuels up fans with subs, pretzels, and caffeine, opened its fifth D.C. location this morning at 1 Thomas Circle NW. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania-based chain’s typically over-the-top grand opening festivities were toned down to a “social distancing ribbon cutting” that was aired on social media. The 900-location chain’s famed opening week promo — free, any-size coffee — is on through Sunday, August 9. The new 24/7 option on Thomas Circle slides into the space formerly occupied by a West Wing Cafe.
The latest D.C. addition comes on the heels of a short-lived run in Adams Morgan. The chain, which faced instant backlash from its chain-averse neighborhood upon its debut, shuttered its year-old location there last month. Wawa made its D.C. debut in 2017 with a jumbo-sized location in Dupont Circle and aggressive plan to blanket the city with 30 to 50 locations over the long term.
In other news...
- Late-night breakfast option Silver Diner plans to open its first Alexandria outpost on Wednesday, August 12. Location No. 18 takes up 6,600 square feet at the foot of the shiny, new mixed-used complex West Alex (4630 King Street). Hours start at 7 a.m. daily and run all the way to 2 a.m. on weekends. The 31-year-old chain, co-founded by Chopped winner Ype Von Hengst, went hard on takeout and delivery during the pandemic and added outdoor seats to its entire portfolio. This latest locale has a 60-seat patio and full bar.
- After dipping its toes into reopening waters via a pair of successful pop-ups last month, Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s romantic mainstay Iron Gate plans to start running a regular schedule, starting this weekend. From Thursdays to Sundays, chef Anthony Chittum’s Mediterranean menu will be available for dinner and brunch across its charming brick-lined patio.
- Award-winning Indian chefs K.N. Vinod (Indique and Bombay Bistro in D.C.) and Heena Patel of San Francisco’s Beshram will host a virtual cooking class on Thursday, August 13. Entry into the Zoom ($55) includes two 20-minute demos on dishes like Vinod’s papri chaat, recipe notes, wine pairing tips from sommelier Erlinda Alexandra Doherty, and 10-percent off the tab at each Indian restaurant.