10 Pretzels You Have to Eat in Philly
Where to enjoy Philly’s second-most famous food tradition...
Philadelphia is a renowned food city, from James Beard Award-nominated chefs and restaurants to the local delicacies. Cheesesteaks may get all the glory when it comes to the latter, but insiders know that the city and countryside are prime pretzel territory.
Hit up a food cart on any Center City or University City street corner and you’ll see why Philly soft pretzels are so easy to love. Sturdy and salty on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside, the soft pretzel is a thing of wonder, and for pretzel pros, mustard is a must-have. In the City of Brotherly (Pretzel) Love, you’ll also find creative twists (no pun intended) on the carb classic — from Rowhome Coffee ’s savory pretzel sandwiches to the snappy and sweet shortbread iterations at Lost Bread Co .
Whether it’s a classic take or one of its many tasty iterations, read on for where to enjoy Philly’s second-most famous food tradition.
Delco’s pretzel purveyors at Bernie’s Pretzel Bakery churn out doughy treats fresh from the oven daily. For all the hungry mouths you have to feed at parties and the like, go for their nugget tray to get their salty and chewy pretzels in beautiful bite-size portions.
To accompany their vast selection of German beers, schnapps and sausages, Brauhaus Schmitz offers up German-style pretzels — dense, thick and a little crusty. A deep amber outer shell is perfect for dipping into the bar’s delightful beer cheese sauce.
There’s no greater pairing than a German beer and a massive Bavarian pretzel. At Frankford Hall , Stephen Starr’s Fishtown biergarten, everything’s bigger: the massive warm pretzels that have a crisp outer shell with a dense, doughy interior and the one-liter steins of lagers, hefeweizens and kolsches.
This LQBTQ-owned microbakery may be most known for their striking pitch-black bagels (made with activated charcoal), but thick sourdough pretzels and a rotating list of limited-run flavors makes The Kettle Black well worth the visit. Hits include jalapeño cheddar sourdough pretzels, pretzel croissants, pretzel bagels and an assortment of vegan options. Check their Instagram story for the latest creations.
A major deviation from the Philly and German soft-pretzel style, Lost Bread Co. delivers a delightfully snappy version of the delicacy. The shortbread pretzel combines savory butter and salt with the slight sweetness and crunch of a shortbread cookie. Find them at your local farmers market, specialty grocery, neighborhood coffee shop, their Howard Street bakery (weekends only) or order online . Eat ’em plain or dunk ’em in your favorite warm beverage.
Combining two Philly essentials, Miller’s Twist is home to the Philly Cheesesteak Pretzel: That’s steak and provolone wrapped in pretzel dough and baked to perfection. The Amish-style pretzels have buttery outsides and are less dense and chewy than traditional Philly soft pretzels. And while you’re at this Reading Terminal Market shop, try any one of their pretzel roll-ups (with fillings like chicken feta sausage and jalapeño cheddar) or a cinnamon-coated twisted pretzel.
Yeah, it’s a chain, but Philly Pretzel Factory pretzels are quintessential. (How many Eagles tailgates have you been to where a party platter of mini pretzels are proudly displayed?) With over 150 locations in over a dozen states — and some 30 locations in the Greater Philadelphia area alone — these pretzels are everything you imagine when you think about soft pretzels. A classic figure-eight with just the right amount of solid, chewy and salty. Want custom pretzel shapes for your next party? The fine folks here have you covered.
If you’ve ever wanted cajun shrimp fondue on a pretzel , you’ve come to the right place. This fast-casual Point Breeze restaurant piles hearty portions of barbecue chicken, jerk chicken, chicken parm, curry, salmon and more atop a soft pretzel. The result is a delicious concoction of epic proportions.
Up your pretzel game in the most Philly way possible: swapping bread for pretzels. At Fitler Square’s Rowhome Coffee , La Colombe beans are brewed and the sandwiches come on a sliced soft pretzel. Pretzel sandwich varieties include breakfast fare like pork roll, egg and cheese, lunchtime faves like roast beef and sharp cheddar, or anytime eats like pretzels with cream cheese.
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Tasty Twisters Bakery bakes classic Philly soft pretzels (they’re kosher!) with a variety of optional sweet and savory toppings. On offer are cinnamon sugar pretzels, garlic pretzels, everything pretzels, pepperoni pizza pretzels, pretzel hot dogs and more.