Maybe you’ve tried those butter-sopped mall pretzels, or the smoky (and too often dry and stale) New York City street cart pretzels, but until you’ve eaten one in Philadelphia you haven’t had soft pretzels at their best. Most people pick them up locally from a convenience store, or in brown paper bags from a street vendor, and they’re quite alright, but if you really want to see how good they can be, head straight for the bakery.
There are a few wholesale soft pretzel bakeries in Philadelphia, and the finest pretzels, in our opinion, come from the one called, prosaically enough, Philadelphia Soft Pretzels, whose motto is “The Good Ones” (and beware of similarly named pretzel bakeries: they are not connected to this one). They are a wholesale operation, located in a part of town no tourist is likely to find herself in. It’s an easy drive-and-park from Center City. Most of PSP’s sales are to schools and convenience stores, but anyone is more than welcome to stop by and pick up a bagful, or dozens.
Tell the folks at the window how many you want, hand over your money, and then walk into the bakery to get your pretzels. If you’re early enough and they’re still baking, someone will help you, otherwise it’s help yourself. Keep in mind that pretzel baking is a morning only activity (and they do make a superb breakfast).
Fresh from the oven, these chewy rectangular twists of salt-crusted bread are impossible to stop eating, and a real LAF bargain. The traditional garnish for a Philly pretzel is mustard, and there’s a small counter towards the back of the bakery where you can spritz to your heart’s delight.
A few words about mustard: we love fancy mustards, grainy mustards, Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard on hot dogs, honey mustard every now and then, and we just cannot abide yellow mustard. Except… somehow, the only mustard that tastes right to us on a Philadelphia pretzel is a bright yellow squiggle tracing its full serpentine length.4315 North 3rd Street Philadelphia PA 19140 215-324-4315 Philadelphia Soft Pretzels, Inc.’s Website Philadelphia Soft Pretzels, Inc. on Facebook