If there's one thing that Dallas-Fort Worth does not have enough of, it's pretzels. We need more pretzels, and we need better pretzels.
We need Philly Pretzel Factory, a Pennsylvania-based chain that's colonizing North Texas, including a location opening in Mansfield in fall 2018 with more to follow in Dallas and Plano.
Philly Pretzel Factory is "home of the real soft pretzel," as well as the world's largest Philly-style pretzel bakery, with more than 100 franchised locations, clustered mostly in the Northeast.
They make their own dough on-site and hand twist each pretzel, which they bake in frequent batches throughout the day. Having a pretzel that's warm and fresh is their priority.
Their pretzel selection includes regular twists, mini-pretzels, and party-size, which are a medium-sized twist.
They also do cool pretzel sandwiches such as: a pretzel stuffed with Philly cheesesteak; a pretzel dog consisting of an all-beef Dietz & Watson hot dog wrapped in a pretzel with melted American cheese; and the pepperoni pretzel melt, like a pretzel pepperoni pizza with pepperoni slices and cheese atop a soft pretzel rod, accompanied by a cup of marinara sauce.
There are bite-sized pretzel nuggets and cinnamon pretzel twists, dusted with cinnamon-sugar and served with a sweet cream cheese dip.
Philly Pretzel Company has been angling for North Texas since 2015, and has a location in Killeen near the military base. Now the company is getting the dough rolling for DFW, with locations coming to Dallas, Plano, and Mansfield.
The Mansfield location is at 3300 E. Broad St., occupying a storefront in a center that also has a Kroger store, and is owned by Eben Cobb, a former executive with DART who wanted to try something new.
"I was so impressed with Philly Pretzel Factory, not only because they seemed successful but because of the way the company was run," Cobb says. "My wife and I went to Philadelphia and saw how supportive the company was, and how great the pretzels were."
Having a restaurant dedicated entirely to pretzels might seem risky, but Cobb points out that pretzels are trending up.
"There is a demand," he says. "There's a shift. Everyone is getting into pretzels. Sonic has one. Quicktrip has a pretzel special. Pretzels are becoming more mainstream. And I want to try and tap into that demand."
There's also something special about these particular pretzels, he says.
"It's a good pretzel, and when we serve it, it will be hot and fresh out of the oven," he says. "Most pretzels around here are frozen, then baked or reheated — not fresh. The concept with this is to give you a fresh out-of-the-oven hot pretzel."
And as the menu proves, it's not just pretzels. "We'll have pretzel dogs, pretzel cheesesteak, you have the meat and the cheese, it's like having a sandwich," he says.
Alas, there are no tofu pretzels, but the pretzel on its own is vegan since it does not have butter or dairy.
"The pretzel itself is water, yeast, and flour," he says. "What makes a pretzel a pretzel is the technique. It's getting the crisp outside of the pretzel and having the soft interior. You get your crunch and get that nice chew, and a little salt."