DINING OUT: Brooklyn Pretzel Factory

January 17, 2013 Denise Romano
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The Brooklyn Pretzel Factory is chock full of old-time nostalgia and tasty treats.

The Fifth Avenue eatery was born in mid-July when siblings Kathleen and Terence Casey both found themselves out of work.

“We both like pretzels, so we looked into opening up a franchise,” the sister explained. “But the franchise makes the money and you don’t.”

So the team opted to open up their own small business and went to Philadelphia to research what equipment was needed to make homemade pretzels.

“We wanted to have a Brooklyn theme. We carry Olde Brooklyn soda, Gabila’s Knishes and Fox’s U-Bet syrup [to make egg creams],” Casey said, adding that the restaurant’s logo is based on that of the Brooklyn Dodgers, their father’s favorite team.

At the Pretzel Factory, the twisted treats are made in a special oven that produces 360 pretzels in seven minutes. They are available plain, salted or with “everything” like a bagel. Adventurous eaters have a choice of nine different dips, like honey dijon and jalapeno cheddar, for 25 cents a pop.

“Nothing is frozen. They are hand rolled and baked fresh as needed throughout the day,” Casey said, adding that they have gained popularity, with the eatery providing trays and half-trays of pretzel rods for events at local schools.

On a rainy afternoon, I sampled the plain and everything pretzel rods (six for $3). They were soft and chewy, and I could easily taste the sourdough. I sampled the cheddar and spicy ranch dips, which were creamy and tasty. The ranch had an extra zippiness. They were just plain fun to eat!

I also enjoyed a salted pretzel fresh out the oven ($1.50 each or five for $5). It was chewy, tasty and the dough melted in my mouth.

As I bit into the Gabila’s Knish ($2), I was instantly transported to a Coney Island beach. The outside breading was crispy with soft, savory potato inside. It tasted exactly as it should.

The Pretzel Dog ($2.50) was a tasty beef hot dog, wrapped in melted American cheese and a pretzel coating. I felt like a kid again eating this yummy treat.

A favorite of mine, the Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel ($2) was delightful. There was just the right amount of coating so the chewy pretzel was sweet, but not cloying.

I really enjoyed the Beef Vegetable Soup (check for weekly specials. A small served with two pretzel rods costs $3.50; as large served with three pretzel rods is $5.50), which Casey made herself. It was loaded with peas, carrots, celery, green beans, onions, lima beans, corn and chunks of beef. The broth was slightly salty – it would be great for someone with a cold – and you could taste the freshness.

I washed this all down with an Egg Cream ($1.75 for small; $2.50 for large). Available in chocolate and vanilla, it was recommended I try the former. Sipping it was comforting. It was bubbly, sweet and tasted just like it should, thanks to the Fox’s U-Bet.

One of the most fascinating things at the eatery is the décor: specifically, the large photographs on each wall. They were taken in front of the exact Fifth Avenue location in 1944. The south-facing wall shows the scene looking south towards Shore Road and the north-facing wall has the scene looking north towards Bay Ridge Parkway. So little, yet so much has changed since then.

I left the Brooklyn Pretzel Factory happy and full, already planning my next trip.

Brooklyn Pretzel Factory

7504 Fifth Avenue

718-439-5100

BKPretzels.com

Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Closed Sunday in the winter, extended hours coming in the spring

Wholesale and catering available


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