Fork Yeah

These Pretzels Are Stuffed With Italian Beef and Even Crazier Foods

With Oktoberfest in full swing and beer and German snacks on the mind, it’s time to forget everything you know about pretzels because one Chicago-area eatery is stuffing them with entire freaking meals.

Located in Winfield, Illinois, about 40 miles from downtown Chicago, Gnarly Knots is a mom-and-pop pretzel shop that was created after a food competition challenged the owners Funi McLoughlin and Matt Finn to create a new take on a German-themed appetizer.

“So Matt and I met in Seattle where we joined with a group of fellow friends who were all foodies,” McLoughlin told Thrillist. “We did an Iron Chef challenge one week where we made pretzels and they were delicious, and we decided to just keep making them.”

Like an ordinary pretzel, Gnarly Knots starts their process by rolling out dough, but that’s about the only similarity to the ones you’d find at the mall. Next, these pretzels are stuffed with a crazy array of sweet or savory fillings, tossed and twisted, salted, and then baked to golden perfection.

“All told between the sweet and savory, we focus more on the savory, but occasionally we’ll do a sweet stuffed,” said McLoughlin. “We have probably between 50 to 100 versions of a stuffed pretzel that you can get.”

For those looking for an entire meal, there's cajun chicken and Jack cheese, three cheese, or Italian beef and come served with your choice of creamy mustard, apricot habanero, nacho cheese, or herb butter sauce. Or to satisfy that sweet tooth, the massive birthday cake pretzel is stuffed with cake, sprinkles and frosting rolled up into balls and then covered in rich chocolate frosting and -- obviously -- rainbow sprinkles.

Gnarly Knots has a rotating menu for their stuffed options, and usually only offer one stuffed pretzel a day. Their non-stuffed pretzels are available everyday, and the birthday cake pretzel is available for order with one day's notice. Get there early, because only a limited amount of each are available each day and they sell out regularly.

Watch the video above to find out why these are definitely knot your average pretzels.

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Tanner Saunders is a writer at Thrillist who would like a breakfast stuffed pretzel please and thank you!