For the last few years the Philadelphia area has been inundated with soft pretzel stores. The omnipresent Philly Soft Pretzel Co. franchise has opened up dozens of locations each year invading strip malls throughout the region.
It is a little unfortunate. Don’t get me wrong, Philly Soft Pretzel’s products are not bad. Better, in fact, then a lot of the junk you’d get from the side of the road. But what the franchised pretzel threatens is the independent pretzel bakery.
The South Jersey Pretzel and Water Ice Co. first came to my attention a decade ago when a coworker who trekked 40 miles to Montgomery County from New Jersey each day used to occasionally bring a tray of 50 into the office. They were the best soft pretzels I’d ever had. Still are.
They are not as doughy as the franchised pretzel and the salt compliments but does not dominate. They have a more distinct flavor then the homogenized franchise pretzel. If you are headed down the White Horse Pike the South Jersey Pretzel and Water Ice Co. opens at 5 am and stays open into the evening, constantly baking fresh, hot out of the oven pretzels. An assortment of mustards is available to compliment your choices. A bakers dozen (13) are just $4.75. It’s just 15 minutes from the Ben Franklin Bridge.
So, on your next trek to the shore, make a detour and try the best damn pretzel you’ve ever had.