Our Favorite Philadelphia Soft Pretzels

Pretzels at Alla Spina | Photo by Arthur Etchells

Pretzels at Alla Spina | Photo by Arthur Etchells

As a lifetime Philadelphian I’ve consumed more than my fare share of pretzels. Even with the knowledge that Philadelphians eat more than 12 times as many pretzels as the average American, I feel I consume more than all but the most zealous Philadelphia pretzel eaters. And it has been that way for a long time. In Catholic grade school, the soft pretzel was as much a part of any school day as prayer. I’ve had a pretzel with mustard for breakfast more often than any bowl of cereal. I still don’t blink at the thought of ordering a pretzel from any street vendor, though I’ve become suspicious of the watered-down mustard coming out of the squirt bottles (that’s why there are always mustard packets in my desk drawer). And I believe a certain amount of Philadelphia’s culture vanished when Herb Denenberg aired his hidden camera report on pretzel vendors, but that was disgusting.

So for this National Pretzel Day, here are our favorite Philadelphia area soft pretzels.

Mart Pretzel
Cinnaminson, NJ
The best soft pretzel is baked in New Jersey? Yep, what can I tell you, it’s true. The crackly crust, dense dough, the steamy warmth. This pretzel makes up for the sin that is the Wawa pretzel.

Center City Pretzel
East Passyunk
After midnight, the pretzel bakery starts pumping out the morning’s pretzel run. Stop by the South Philadelphia storefront for a hot pretzel at night or hit it up before work to be an office hero with a dozen hot pretzels delivered to the break room.

Alla Spina
Alla Spina’s pretzel bites are made the old school way and the attention to detail shows. Marry the pretzels with the best beer-and-cheese sauce ever and you’re really talking.

Miller’s Twist
Reading Terminal, Market East
The big, buttery, brown, salty soft pretzels are still a must-eat treat everytime I go to the Terminal.

Brauhaus Schmitz
Bella Vista
This house-made pretzel is great with the German mustard Brauhaus serves, but pro tip, dip it in the parsley-chive-and-dill-flecked butter that normally comes with the bread.

Metropolitan Bakery
Multiple locations
The crunch at the ends of a Metropolitan Bakery soft pretzel is a sensation that makes you wish a pretzel had more than two ends. The fennel and anise flavor gives this pretzel a non-traditional flavor that’s no less craveable than a regular Philadelphia soft pretzel.