Center City Pretzel Co.

Review by: Michael Stern

Bad-tasting water = good-tasting food.

That was the conclusion we reached during a cheese steak-eating expedition through Philadelphia when we took a break to visit Center City Pretzel Company. By this point in the day, we had eaten enough cheese steaks that appetite was becoming only a distant memory. But the aroma, then the taste of big, soft, freshly-made pretzels proved irresistible. There is a certain brackish tang to the flavor of the pretzel, especially to its tan skin, that is like no other – a flavor that some experts attribute to the Philadelphia water in which they are boiled before being baked. Whatever the cause, these pretzels, hot from the bakery, are superb. They are supplied to vendors throughout the city, but by the time they get to where they’re going, in most cases they have lost their freshness and their sparkle.

When you get a pretzel at Center City, it will likely be warm, especially if you arrive early in the day. (It opens at 4am.) It is dense, chewy, and full flavored – a true bread-lover’s pretzel – and it is of course sprinkled with coarse salt. Some connoisseurs like to have a little mustard as a condiment. As far as we’re concerned, one (or a few) of these big softies need nothing to attain street-food perfection.

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Center City Pretzel Co. Recipes


What do you think of Center City Pretzel Co.?

One Response to “Center City Pretzel Co.”

Heidi Pohle

January 26th, 2011

We stopped in here early, before our visit to the Franklin Institute. It was a cold morning, but when we opened the door and stepped inside, it was toasty warm. It also smelled great. I love that yeasty smell.

I ordered a dozen pretzels (and actually received 14), and got them in a brown paper bag. While I didn’t see any pretzels coming out of the oven, these were still warm to the touch. One hint: don’t close the bag while they are still warm, or they’ll get kind of mushy.

These pretzels are much better warm out of the oven. You’ll never feel the same way about a stale pretzel that was baked hours and hours ago. But then, I’m a pretzel nut!


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