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The Rob ‘Dishes’ on How We Can Make Evansville Better: MTO Stations Like Wawa and Sheetz

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It is no secret that I am not from around here and Evansville is very different from where I grew up – Philadelphia. There are a lot of differences such as traffic, weather and especially the attitudes of people but since I moved here, I have always pretty much felt at home – except for one thing…  For six years now, I have been championing that Evansville’s convenience stores are missing a huge opportunity.

Including my family and friends, the thing I possibly miss most about Pennsylvania, is the computerized “made-to-order” deli selections in convenience stores.

Many people locally are familiar with Sheetz-brand gas stations and convenience stores. Some may be fortunate enough to have been inside of a Wawa. These stores have a very fervent and passionate following. But, it’s not because of their gas or their inventory – it is because of the quality and variety of their deli selections.

The premise is very simple: you walk into the store hungry; you push buttons on a touch-screen monitor and literally build your selection from scratch. You start with the bread; you move on to the meats, the cheeses, the toppings, the extras, the sides, etc. A ticket prints out next to your screen where you then deliver said ticket to cashier. Pay for the food and wait for the delicatessen to call your number. Take your food and exit the way you came in.

The quality of this food is always incredible, and is the taste that I most associate with home. I also suggest any sandwich goes well with a half gallon of the store’s brand fruit punch.

You may be asking yourself, “what makes this different from a Subway or other fast-food joint?” Many restaurants offer sandwiches, burgers or other items but these MTO stations have literally trillions of possibilities of deli selections. My standard go-to order is: a foot-long, Italian hoagie on wheat but you can also get delicious burgers, chicken sandwiches, soups, nachos – basically anything you are looking for can be made behind these magical counters. And the best part is, you don’t have to talk to a soul!

I know how seriously Evansville takes its food and restaurants. For those who like to eat, such as myself, and don’t want to waste a lot of time, these stores are like heaven. And, I know that anyone who would open up a Wawa or a Sheetz type store would become a millionaire very quickly. Yes I do love living here but, if I could change one thing about Evansville, it would be to put as many as these MTO sandwich machines into convenience stores as possible.

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