The first location in the Tampa area opened in Pinellas Park back in 2013. Now they’re everywhere. Wawa’s cheap gas prices and sandwiches have been a hit with Floridians.
Curbside pick up and drive thru service is keeping many restaurants alive during the pandemic. Now Wawa is getting into the drive thru business, according to Fox 35 in Orlando. The first drive-thru Wawa will open in December and offer both drive-thru and curbside pickup service. In fact, that’s ALL they will have. You won’t be able to walk in to get that sub or pack of gum. You’ll be able to order things like coffee and a hoagie via “state of the art technology,” which I’m guessing means an app.
They’re trying this out in a Pennsylvania location first. Then they’ll try it in New Jersey. If it catches on and works out, maybe we’ll see them at Wawa locations here in the Tampa area.
Geno’s 10 Favorite Sandwiches in the Tampa Area
They’re so simple to make in a hurry, but these Tampa area spots take the sandwich to the next level, creating a masterpiece between those slices of bread.
The sandwiches at Big Stein's in St. Pete are well... big.
The Triple Deckers are enormous. It'll be lunch and dinner. They have about 4 or 5 to choose from with different combinations of roast beef, ham or turkey.
Get there early before the lunch rush. When they run out, they run out. The lunch special usually comes with a rib sandwich with a couple ribs on the side and a drink for under $10.
That kick'n chicken... awesome. People went nuts over that "best fast food chicken sandwich" debate a few months ago. This one's my winner.
Wawa's subs are far too good for a gas station sub. Sorry. Hoagie. Ever since they arrived in Florida in 2013, I've been hooked.
Seriously. It stinks that fans aren't allowed in at the Trop right now. Never mind the baseball. The "Short Rib Grilled Cheese" is beer braised short rib, caramelized onion, horseradish cream with melted cheddar, Swiss and Havarti cheese.
This Maine kid gives his stamp of approval to their legit lobster roll. They're so authentically New England they even have Whoopie Pies. Some Floridians don't even know what a Whoopie Pie is. Shame.
It's so simple, but their BLT is fantastic. Pricey, but this is South Tampa. Everything is pricey in South Tampa. PS don't forget the cupcake.
Look at all that beautiful bacon.
Seriously. If you go, don't forget the peanut butter chocolate cupcake.
You know it's a legit Philly Cheesesteak when you can order it "with Whiz." No other cheesesteak I've had in Florida comes close to the one at Delco's.
Italia Mia - you are SO close to #1. The best Chicken Parmesan experience in Florida.
Their chicken parm sub is so good it took me dozens of visits before I finally tried their pizza, which is a shame because it's almost as good as the chicken parm.
Look at that.
OK last pic I promise... on to #1 we go.
You know if you see a crowd and line like this, you're in for something good.
It's all about the #20 Hot Italian sub.
This thing really should cost way more than it does. It's a $10+ sub and it's only about $7.
BTW, get that blueberry soda. It's nearly impossible to find anywhere else in Florida.
And don't forget dessert. Their bakery and gelato case will give you too many options.
Good luck choosing.
And there's stuff to take home.
I mean plenty.
My home away from home.
#GenoAteTampa: Geno’s pizza tour of Tampa Bay
Let me show you around Detroit, New York City and Chicago… without leaving Hillsborough and Pinellas County.
The newest addition to my list is a close runner up to my favorite pizza in Florida. The crust has a perfect texture. The sauce is out of this world. The cheese has the perfect level of saltiness. I don't get to Bradenton often but every time I go, this tiny intimate Italian restaurant will be a new stop for me. The penne pasta was excellent but the pizza was insanely good.
This place is rated best by many Tampa pizza lovers. I like it. It's better than Tampa's other favorite Eddie & Sam's (which I find blatantly average at best). It's in a quiet neighborhood so you have to seek it out. It's close to the 275/I-4 merge on Central. If you're in that part of town, it's a solid choice. Not my favorite in Florida, but in the Top 10 for Tampa area for sure.
I unfortunately discovered this place just as I was moving away from the Brandon area. Not the top of my list, but far from the bottom. Nothing fancy. Just good pizza from a local mom and pop shop. I love those.
This was one of my first great pizzas I discovered when I moved to Florida. Pizza lovers argue about New York vs. Chicago style pizza. Cappy's has both. Their NY style is good, but the Chicago version is excellent. They also have other locations, including one in St. Pete I've tried a few times. But the Riverview restaurant seems to do it best. It's definitely not an everyday pizza. Deep dish pizza is an event or an occasion. You will not leave hungry.
I know many who swear by Paul's being the best around. I'm not as much of a fan. I think Cappy's does deep dish way better. However their deep dish isn't bad at all. Call way ahead because deep dish takes a while to make. Paul's loyalists will tell you the REAL Chicago style pizza is the super thin crunch crust. I'm not a fan. I like chewy.
There are plenty of pizza spots in Ybor City. There's one on a side street off 7th that I can't remember the name of at the moment. But it's frustrating because depending on who's working, some nights it's awesome and some nights their pizza is terrible. But Due Amici is pretty consistent. The game changer for me was when I tried their Sicilian style.
I honestly had no idea Detroit had their own style of pizza until I discovered Pizza Squared near Busch Gardens in Tampa.
I am sad to report that Pizza Squared is no longer with us. They started going downhill and eventually went out of business about 3 years ago. They had fantastic wings too. It was my Super Bowl go to spot for years.
Listeners insisted I try this place. It's good pizza, but not great. Thing is in Florida, we have so little great pizza that places like this tend to stand out. It's not a bad pizza, just not great... nothing special to make it unique.
This place on 49th is a local favorite, but really just ok to me. But I felt I should include it since so many have told me it's their favorite. To me it's not really all that flavorful. It's thin and light. I'm a fat guy. I like something hearty.
Its in St. Pete but no hipsters it's not a place you just never noticed downtown St. Pete. It's not downtown at all. It's hidden in a cruddy strip mall on 62nd Ave. I had the chicken parm dozens of times before I finally tried their pizza. I shouldn't have waited so long. Their chicken parm is top notch but the pizza is very good.
I'll never forget when I first heard that Grimaldi's, a legendary pizza spot in NYC and New Jersey, had chosen Florida for its first franchise locations. For a few years, there was none better for me.
I normally am not a chain pizza person, but they captured the magic of the pizza from Grimaldi's locations in NYC at their Florida locations.
So is that it? Is Grimaldi's is my #1 pick? Nope! Grimaldi's style of pizza, coal oven, was eclipsed when listeners insisted I try a similar pie in Clearwater and I never looked back.
I saved the best for last. I won't even let you argue. I've lived from Maine to California. There's no better pizza in the Tampa area than Cristino's. There's not a lot of parking. It's a pain for most who live in Tampa Bay to get to. But you get rewarded with that first bite.
Cristino's, I love you. You make national lists for a reason. You're a pain in the butt to drive to but that's probably for the best. Otherwise I'd be there weekly. And I'm fat enough.
The first time I had pizza at Cristino's was right before a New York City trip. The pizza was so good that I didn't even seek out pizza when I was in NYC. That's a crime. You can not go to New York City and not have pizza. It's just wrong. But Cristino's is that good.
To get the best experience at Cristino's, go with the basic and just tell them you want TheMargherita with extra sauce. It does have cheese, but like most elite pizza spots, they know to put the cheese below the sauce. This tends to weird out many amateur pizza eaters. But trust me. It's the way pizza is supposed to be done.
If you’re up to do some traveling, here are some of my other favorites…
When I go home to see family, this is usually the first stop. Their thick Sicilian style slabs may be my favorite anywhere. It's not the kind of pizza you'd eat every day. It's a monster. The sauce is sweeter than you may be used to but it's tangy and the cheese is salty. They don't make pizza to order. You walk in. If there's any pizza left, grab a box. If they're currently sold out, you wait. They don't customize pizza with toppings. You take what you can get.
Good ol' fashioned Brooklyn style pizza. Brick oven pizza with Sinatra playing... it's my happy place in NYC. But just like Boston, honestly, with NYC, if the pizza isn't good, they won't stay in business with rent prices that high.
It's an icon in Boston. Honestly it's almost a 200 way tie for first place. You can't find bad pizza in Boston. The rent is too high and if the pizza wasn't good, they'd go out of business.