The Center City can’t get enough of the iconic Philly soft pretzel. Perhaps it’s not surprising then to learn that Pennsylvania makes 80 percent of the pretzels sold in the United States.
To zero in on the best of Philadelphia’s doughy delights, check out these highly rated soft pretzel vendors.
It may seem odd to feature a chain store on this list, but Philly Pretzel Factory is beloved in this town. The fact that this franchise’s locations dot the city is a testament to its popularity, with a high level of consistency across locations. Even better, non-Philadelphians just might be lucky enough to have a Philly Pretzel Factory nearby.
So why are these breaded knots so well-liked? Pretzels are crunchy on the outside, oh-so-soft on the inside, and warm and fresh all over. For an extra kick, you can spice up your Philly soft pretzel with the mustard of your choice (Super Hot, Spicy Brown, Original Yellow, or Honey Mustard) or indulge in a range of dips from cheese to chocolate.
Located in Center City at Reading Terminal Market, Miller’s Twist offers a wide array of rich, buttery pretzels and also transforms these soft, crispy creations into sandwich substitutes. For breakfast, enjoy a bacon, egg, and cheese wrapped in a pretzel. For lunch, you might choose a pretzel-covered hot dog or broccoli rabe and sausage. For true Philly-style, choose the cheesesteak stuffed pretzel. Pretzel aficionados say these pretzels are savory, sweet, and salty— a party your taste buds will surely enjoy.
Looking for pretzels made the old-fashioned way? If so, check out Center City Pretzel Company at 816 Washington Avenue outside the Italian Market. The company, which also sells wholesale and retail, boasts the only all-natural soft pretzel in the Tri-State Area, made from three simple ingredients: flour, yeast, and water. It’s the same recipe used since 1981.
Come here for warm, light and fluffy twisted knots, but be mindful of the unusual hours. According to its website, Center City Pretzel Company is open from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday, on Saturday from 4:00 am to 12:00 pm, and on Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Of course, before you go, check to make sure they’re open. But if you’re a bit peckish at four in the morning on a Saturday, you’re in luck.
If you want to sit down and savor your pretzel in the rapidly growing neighborhood of Fishtown, the German beer garden Frankford Hall may just be the spot for you. Here, you’ll find servers with baskets filled with large twists of dough that are warm and soft, albeit slightly pricey. Try the Warm Bavarian Pretzel or Riesenpretzel (translation: GIANT pretzel, which apparently means it’s the size of your head). Pair it with the cheese dip or wash it down with a German beer.
So what are you in the mood for? Delicious Philly-style pretzels at a popular chain, a unique pretzel sandwich at Reading Terminal Market, a doughy creation from one of the city’s original wholesalers, or an absurdly large pretzel paired with a sudsy brew? Whatever it is, in this city, your biggest challenge is choosing from the kaleidoscope of choices.
Carolyn Frith, a content consultant who owns Carolyn Frith Marketing, aims to rid the world of snore-and-bore writing on the web. She covers Philadelphia events and real estate options and a range of other content.