Here are 10 businesses in Pittsburgh that make a mean soft pretzel!
Axel’s Pretzels (Various Locations)
Axel’s Pretzels bakes authentic German soft pretzels made with vegan and all-organic ingredients. Axel’s Pretzels is run by father-son duo Axel and Connor Claussen. A Pittsburgher hailing from Germany, Axel started baking pretzels when he missed the pretzels of his
These iconic pretzels can be found at various locations across Pittsburgh, including Bryant Street Market, Kelly’s Bar & Lounge, My Goodness, and Rowhouse Cinema. You can also order them directly on Grubhub, or catch their Brezel Bike at a local event near you!
The Claussens share, “The best soft pretzel can only be made by hand with the highest quality organic ingredients. We take pride in hand twisting every single pretzel.”
Fat Head’s Saloon (South Side)
Established in 1992, Fat Head's Saloon started off as a tap house and restaurant in the South Side. They've since expanded to open up brewpubs and production breweries across Northeast Ohio (Middleburg Heights, North Olmsted, and Canton). Along with their signature craft beers, they serve a giant $10 pretzel with house-made beer cheese, Head Hunter mustard, and honey mustard.
Friendship Perk & Brew (Friendship)
A veteran owned business with homemade food, freshly-brewed coffee, and rotating beer selection, Friendship Perk & Brew is the place to be! Owned by siblings Nick and Joann Redondo, one of the neighborhood cafe's offerings is a pillowy stack of soft pretzel sticks that comes with beer cheese dip.
Friendship Perk & Brew also frequently hosts local events like biweekly Friday trivia nights, live music events, and weekly community speakers.
And they’ve got some great life advice for all of us: “Happy hour is from 4 to 6, but pretzels and beer cheese are forever!”
Industry Public House (Lawrenceville & North Fayette)
With locations in Lawrenceville and North Fayette, Industry Public House is a gastropub that offers American comfort cuisine, artisanal cocktails, and craft beer. Drawing from Prohibition-era architectural styles, Industry Public House combines comfort and gourmet and also serves one of the largest soft pretzels in Pittsburgh: an Industrial Soft Pretzel which comes with savory beer cheese.
Lorelei (East Liberty)
From the team that brought you the Independent Brewing Company and Hidden Harbor comes Lorelei, a neighborhood cocktail bar & beer hall housed in East Liberty’s historic Werner Building. Drawing food & drink inspirations from Alpine Europe, Lorelei boasts of a shareable soft pretzel that is baked fresh daily and comes paired with a kielbasa-sauerkraut cheese spread.
Mediterra Cafe (Sewickley)
Nestled in Sewickley on Beaver Street, Mediterra Cafe is a combination bakery, cafe, and artisan food market owned by the Ambeliotis family, who also run Mediterra Bakehouse. Each Saturday, Mediterra Cafe fires up batches of soft pretzels. Make sure to snag yours, as they go quickly!
“What makes a good pretzel, like anything else in the bread family, number one it has to taste right,” says Production Manager Anthony Ambeliotis, “Regardless of the way it looks, what flour you use, what fermentation you use, it's got to taste right. At the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matters. But you arise to that point by doing everything else right, starting at sourcing and using the best ingredients.”
Siempre Algo (Deutschtown)
Located in Deutschtown on the North Side, Siempre Algo is a restaurant and cocktail & wine bar that centers around tapas style dishes. Siempre Algo offers a homemade, Bavarian-style sourdough pretzel with sea salt and whole-grain mustard. You can also add chicken liver patê to your order!
Owner and Chef Brian Hammond explains, “A pretzel is special because it has such a thin and crisp crust. With traditional bread, the crust is just a simple outer covering, but the thin and long shape of a pretzel, twisted on itself, creates a tremendous amount of surface area and thus the opportunity for more crust. The traditional lye bath for the pretzel means the crust is uniquely thin, flavorful, and crispy.”
The Harmony Inn (Harmony)
The Harmony Inn is known for the friendly ghosts that frequent the premises and North County Brewing Co. brews. Originally built in 1856, the house used to be the residence of Austin Pierce, a prominent banker, mill operator, and railroad executive, and was later renovated into a hotel. Current owners Bob & Jodi McCafferty bought The Harmony Inn in 2013, maintaining the quality and tradition, as well as the continued reportings of friendly ghosts. The Harmony Inn offers a Brezeln appetizer, soft pretzels that are served with beer cheese and black bear mustard.
The Pretzel Shop (South Side)
A beloved classic to Pittsburgh, The Pretzel Shop has been twisting soft pretzels on the South Side since 1927 in their original brick oven built in 1872. Besides the original soft pretzel, The Pretzel Shop also has pretzels in flavors like Sugar & Cinnamon and Pepperoni Mozzarella, as well as pretzel sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.
The Pretzel Shop family says, “What makes our soft pretzels unique is everything we put into them. We’ve been in business since 1927 and our family has personally owned it since 1981! Our bakers arrive around 4 am every morning to start making dough, and twisting pretzels. Our pretzels are preservative free, made fresh daily. As the only pretzel place in the city with homemade, hearth baked pretzels for 92 years now, we promise quality and care with each pretzel.”
Two Fraus Bakery (Harmony)
Nestled in historic Harmony, Two Fraus Bakery is owned by two friends who create fine baked goods from German and Hungarian recipes passed down by their mothers and grandmothers. These baked goods include six types of artisan-style breads, molasses crinkle cookies, cherry hibiscus butter shortbread, and much more. Every Saturday, the Two Fraus are joined by their husbands and children to make dozens of soft pretzels.
The secret of the Two Fraus? “Ours are a special Bavarian recipe developed by The Two Fraus and are carefully crafted fresh in front of the customer in five flavors every Saturday.”
Be sure to keep these businesses in mind next time you’re craving a pretzel fix!
Curious which one of these businesses was voted Best Pretzel in the Burgh by the Pittsburgh community? Check out our interview with the winning business here.