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The Pretzel Bakery

It seemed like an unusually long morning at work, so despite the fact that it was pouring down rain by the time I was ready for my lunch break, I went for a bike ride anyway.  After the first few minutes I was thoroughly soaked.  So I quickly got past worrying about getting wet, and was able to enjoy the ride. In fact, it was so much fun that I used a little vacation time and took a longer than usual ride.

Near the end of the ride I stopped at a new place, or at least one that was new to me, named The Pretzel Bakery.  It is located at 340 15th Street, Southeast (MAP), in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, on a block of small but tidy row houses, and across the street from Payne Elementary School.  The Pretzel Bakery serves hand-rolled, Philadelphia-style soft pretzels, and they make them in small batches so you can get them fresh-out-of-the-oven throughout the day.

The Pretzel Bakery is owned and run by Sean Haney, who opened the small neighborhood shop after he got frustrated with the lack of the quality pretzels he had grown up enjoying in Philadelphia.  After years of perfecting his Pennsylvania Dutch-style recipe, he began providing Washingtonians with a quality alternative to the mass-produced pretzels available at mall chain stores and the heated up frozen pretzels served by some local restaurants.  What distinguishes pretzels at The Pretzel Bakery from others is that they don’t coat the dough with butter before browning them in an oven.  Instead, The Pretzel Bakery briefly boils the made-from-scratch dough, much like an authentic New York bagel, resulting in a chewy texture and a more flavorful pretzel.

The menu includes the original Salted pretzel; the Everything, which is topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, garlic, and salt, as well as; a cinnamon-glazed pretzel with a kiss of salt, named the Sweet. They also have something called Pretzel Bombs, which are Nutella-filled Sweet pretzel rolls.  And for breakfast, they offer a Breakfast Slider, a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on an Everything pretzel roll, which was recently voted “Best Breakfast Sandwich” in D.C. by The City Paper.  I haven’t had one yet, but you can bet I’ll going back in the morning sometime soon to try one (or more).

Today, however, I was fortunate enough to be able to get one of their limited seasonal offerings.  I got a couple of fresh-baked and still warm Pumpkin IPA Pretzels, and ate one with some ice tea under one of the large umbrellas on the patio in front.  I took the second one back to the office with me and enjoyed it there.  They offer mustards and dips, including Gulden’s Spicy Brown and French’s Yellow, as well as Caramel Mustard, Whole Grain Mustard, Nutella, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. But my pretzel was so good that I decided it didn’t need anything added to it that might take away from its flavorful goodness.

I haven’t done a restaurant review here on this blog in a while.  And when I do a restaurant review, it is usually at the end of the month. But as a fan of soft pretzels, and an even bigger fan of pumpkin anything, I just couldn’t wait until the end of the month to give this place a try.  And I’m glad I didn’t.  Their pretzels are so good they’re worth getting soaking wet while riding on a bike in the rain just to get there.  But, of course, you can get there any way you choose.

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

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UPDATE:   The bad news is that On March 2, 2016, The Pretzel Bakery moved.  The good news is that they only moved down the street, to 257 15th Street.  And you can still enjoy their full menu, along with intermittently added special offerings such as Pretzel Dog Saturdays, in their new, larger location. 

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The New Pretzel Bakery

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[Click on the thumbnails above to view the full size photos]

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