OS Eats: The New Sheetz

Every fall semester at Penn State begins with great friends and great fun. Many students connect with their peers and create lasting friendships that can’t be broken– or can they? One of the most controversial topics on campus is the Sheetz vs. Wawa debate. In a place where students hail from either “Sheetz Country” or “Wawa Country,” there are very few ways to determine a winner. Three of our staffers decided to search for an answer at the new Sheetz on Pugh St.

The Contenders

Patrick Koerbler: The Sheetz Fanatic

Gabriela Stevenson: The Wawa Enthusiast

Claire Going: The Impartial Third Party

First Impression

Patrick: As an experienced Sheetz goer, the new Sheetz is a welcomed addition to Pugh Street. Like many Sheetz across the state, its very modern looking. Everything is obviously new, but the layout is simple yet contemporary. Whether you’re looking for coffee, snacks, a meal, or even ice cream, Sheetz has made it simple for you to find what you need, and be able to head back on your way.

Gabriela: I won’t lie, Sheetz impressed me at first. It was clean, spacious, and had a nice seating area that most of the Wawas in my area don’t have. It also smelled like food, which is a plus anywhere you go. The workers seemed friendly and the customers seemed satisfied. It was time to give Sheetz a try.

Claire: I was pleasantly surprised with Sheetz when I first arrived. Everything was very clean and well presented, and I couldn’t wait to look around more and see all that it had to offer. It smelled of fried food and coffee, which was an interesting mix, but also my favorite mix.

Atmosphere

Patrick: Like any fast food place, the atmosphere for most people is fast-paced, wanting to get in and out. This Sheetz is a little different in that theres more of a sitting area than at a usual fast food restaurant, but it still doesnt deviate all that much from its natural Sheetz roots.

Gabriela: Despite the disgusting weather that we traveled through to get to there, Sheetz welcomed us with open arms. I felt like I could take my time ordering my food or flipping through magazine, mostly because of the small seating area by the window (which is also great for people watching). It was pretty quiet inside, which could have been attributed to the rain, but who knows. Overall, pretty similar to Wawa, but with a homey touch. Point one for Sheetz.

Claire: Sheetz is more than just a convenience store. It is definitely closer to a fast-food joint, like a clean McDonald’s. It also didn’t have a gas station vibe like Wawa does. For the amount of space the food portion took up, it could have more seating available, especially for the size of the crowd it attracts.

Ordering Process

Patrick: Sheetz has their Made-To-Order station right at the front of the store so as soon as you walk in, you should be able to see it. It has four touch screen menus, which might cause a wait at those busy lunch hours, but for the majority of the time, one of the menus should be available. The process itself is simple enough, and really shouldnt be all that difficult even for the usual Wawa goer. You just need to decide what youre interested in, make your selection, take your receipt and pay for it, and wait for your order to be called out. With any fast food place, sometimes the wait for your order will be a little longer than you anticipated. Fortunately for me, the wait was pretty quick maybe around five minutes and I had my food selection and drink. Well done, Sheetz.

Gabriela: Okay, this is where I got confused. At Wawa, customers can pick-up their food exactly where they ordered it. At Sheetz, there are three different stations to order, pay, and pick-up food. Three?! Outrageous! If you throw in the coffee or slushie station, that’s four. The layout of the store practically defies the foundation that this country was built on – Food done fast and easy. If anyone is looking for the Wawa fanatic that was walking around Sheetz like a bumbling idiot the other day, you’ve found me.

Claire: Three touch screens for ordering food are available as soon as you walk through the doors. They offer things like breakfast sandwiches, burgers and “Fryz,” and different types of coffee. I have to admit; the ordering process was user-friendly but also over-stimulating at the same time. For every one food item you choose, the device offers dozens of different options to add to it, making the ordering process take twice as long, and twice as difficult to decide. But I’m not complaining; I happily drank my extra large-double-shot-caramel cappuccino with extra foam.

Food Selection

Patrick: Sheetz offers an array choices. Theres hot or cold subs, wraps, deli sandwiches, chicken sandwiches or platters, burgers and dogs, pizza, burritos, coffee, smoothiesyou get the idea. Even though it was the afternoon, I decided to go with the bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito along with a frozen hot chocolate.

Gabriela: Sheetz somewhat redeemed itself with its food selection. Although they overdo the “Z”-at-the-end-of-every-word theme and promote new products a little too often on the touch screen, they do have a wide variety of both hot and cold meals. The amount of sandwich options overwhelmed me at times, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. Sheetz also serves the one thing that Wawa is missing – French fries. I got a little too excited about that and ordered my meal with ease.

Claire: Sheetz has everything from slurpies to ice cream to freshly made salads. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can eat all three of your meals there if you so desired. Complete with its own self-serve frozen yogurt bar, there is no longer need to go to Kiwi- Sheetz has it all. I was thoroughly impressed that Sheetz has a liquor license. Towards that back is a walk-in Beer Cave with tons of different brands of beer. You’ll never see that at Wawa.

Taste

Patrick: Ive noticed with breakfast sandwiches/burritos in general that sometimes there will be too much cheese on it, and it kind of takes away from the egg. Fortunately, Sheetz did a good job, as the breakfast burrito was tasty, having just enough of every item to satisfy my taste buds. What really takes the prize is the frozen hot chocolate. I may be in the minority here, but Ive never even heard of a frozen hot chocolate before. Thats what piqued my interest as soon as I saw it on the menu. While I was little skeptical at first, all it took was one sip to become a fan. As you might imagine, it simply taste like a hot chocolate except in frozen form. It was a nice alternative from a heavy milkshake, and its something delicious to enjoy on your walk to class.

Gabriela: I ordered a seemingly nice-looking flatbread with chicken, cheddar cheese, roasted peppers, and tomatoes. Sounds delicious, right? WRONG. The only word I could come up with to describe my flatbread was “meh.” The bread was pretty chewy, and the man crafting my sandwich didn’t melt the cheese at all, which my colleagues and I agree is something that any Wawa worker would have done. The fries, however, were delicious. Light, crispy, not too much salt — they were the highlight of my day. Although I wasn’t all that impressed, I would go back to try something else on the menu.

Claire: Being a die-hard Wawa coffee fan, I wanted to test their barista skills. Naturally I ordered the most complicated drink on the menu. The cappuccino wasn’t bad, but I’ll still go to Dunkin’ Donuts to get my coffee fix. Their French fries were perfectly crunchy and salty and were also the perfect portion size. The pizza was delicious, made with quality ingredients and steaming hot. With efficient ordering and kitchen service, will Sheetz be the new Canyon of State College?

Results

Patrick: If theres one thing Sheetz offers you, its consistency. From the multiple times Ive been at Sheetz, I can honestly say that Ive never had something Id consider a bad experience. I know its going to be quick, and I know its going to be a solid meal for a relatively low price. While I enjoy Wawa too, Im keeping my faith with Sheetz in this Keystone State battle.

Gabriela: Sorry Sheetz, but I’ll always be a Wawa fan. You can take the girl out of Wawa, but you can’t take Wawa out of the girl. You did have your perks, however, and it’s likely that I’ll return if I’m in a pinch. Don’t get your hopes up, though, I’m mostly coming for the fries.

Claire: I apologize to my fellow Wawa enthusiasts, but Sheetz has won my vote. Although I still love a good Wawa hoagie from time to time, Sheetz has everything a person needs all in one convenient location. I’m not sure if every Sheetz is identical to the one downtown, but I was impressed with the amount of food options available to students. I will definitely be returning, and of course, they take Lion Cash, which is always a bonus.

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The battle for glory between Sheetz and Wawa may never end. Every Penn Stater knows one thing for sure, though — as long as you’re not eating at Canyon, you’ll be just fine.

Where do you stand in the Sheetz vs. Wawa debate? Let us know!

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