1. Center City Pretzel Co.816 Washington Ave, Philadelphia
2. Shane Confectionery110 Market St, Philadelphia
3. High Street on Market308 Market St, Philadelphia
4. Miller's Twist51 N 12th St, Philadelphia
5. The Beese Knees3701 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia
6. Alla Spina1410 Mt. Vernon St, Philadelphia
7. Vedge1221 Locust St, Philadelphia
8. V Street126 S 19th St, Philadelphia
9. The Sidecar Bar & Grille2201 Christian St, Philadelphia
For a real Philly soft pretzel, head to Center City Pretzel Co. They’ve been making pretzels since 1981 the old fashioned way, using only three ingredients: flour, yeast and water. Plus, you can order custom shapes (like the Phillie’s P) or stop by after midnight on weekends for a pretzel hot out of the oven.
Established in 1911 and the nation’s oldest continuously operated candy shop slings a variety of old school treats - including everyone’s least favorite Halloween night candy, Necco Wafers - but it’s the chocolate covered pretzels that are the real standout. These things are substantial and blow away anything you’ll find in the local grocery store. So keep that in mind when you try and manage portions.
You’ve never had bread quite like the ancient grains, roasted potato, or anadama on grill at High Street on Market. The New American haunt in Old City centers its menu on local grains, which High Street refines and finesses at the crack of dawn each day into the stuff of sandwiches, pastries, and pastas that bedeck the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. For lunch, it is sinful to miss out on the smoky and briny pastrami on rye, dressed with cabbage slaw, Russian dressing, and Gulden’s mustard. Opt for the pastas at dinner; they’re decidedly un-Italian and, therefore, entirely unforgettable.
This Reading Terminal Market based shop offers a wide selection of pretzel roll-ups, or soft pretzels stuffed with different choices of protein, including hot dogs and breakfast meats, and our favorite: the cheesesteak roll-up, a Frankensteined combo of two of Philadelphia’s most iconic dishes. We’re still waiting for them to find a way to incorporate a Tasty Cake into the mix, hopefully called the John Kruk.
This Center City bakery creates unique gourmet ice cream cakes with a seasonally rotating menu. Be sure to try The Ed Rendell, named after former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell - who amongst his many accomplishments we can credit National Pretzel Day. The cake therefore features pretzel-infused ice cream and chocolate covered pretzel “crunchies” over peanut butter ice cream and a Nutter butter crust. Cakes are only available through special order now, so make sure you plan ahead.
Alla's is housed in the back half of the old Wilkie dealership with mismatched seating, a bar made of crushed beer bottles, and a ton of wall (and ceiling) space coated in graffiti -- a truly rare find, considering the pristine nature of North Broad.
A laser focus is put on seasonal vegetables at Vedge, and the refined, entirely meat-free menu is creative enough to attract even the most ardent of meat-eaters, if the wait for a table is any indicator. When chefs Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby opened their restaurant in this historic building on Locust St in 2011, the city hadn't seen anything like it: a changing vegetarian menu served in a fine dining setting with a hyper-contemporary sensibility. Anywhere from three to five of the sharing plates can make a meal, from salt-baked beets with cured tofu that's topped with whipped cucumber to seared maitake mushroom with celery root fritters. Desserts like a Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with blood orange gel and bergamot dust are impossibly light while cocktails mixed with housemade syrups make use of healthful juices like grapefruit and lemongrass. In short: skip the veggie burger and make a reservation at Vedge.
V Street is the smaller, more casual sister restaurant to Washington Square West's Vedge. Also a vegan joint, Vedge serves street food style eats inspired by vendors all over the world. Be sure to try the 5 O’Clock Szechuan Soft Pretzels, a riff on the classic Asian steamed buns. The pretzels are made with a Szechuan peppercorn laced dough and and served with a side of spicy ginger mustard. While they may not look like your traditional pretzel, these things are a hot commodity, regularly selling out shortly after they are baked at 5:00 - all the more reason to leave work a few minutes (or hours!) early.
In addition to an ever-changing crafty draft list, Sidecar does a monstrous meat-mound worthy burger. You can load their 1/2lb Angus patty with bacon/ mushroom/ cheddar, Maytag blue/ caramelized onions, or truffle mayo and a poached egg, and drink delicious cocktails from the bar.