This past summer, Dunkin Donuts announced their new pretzel roll roast beef sandwich to much fanfare. Apparently, the roll is served warm, and can also be used with lots of their other sandwiches. They were hardly alone: Other fast food franchises — from Wendy’s (pretzel burger) to Starbucks (asiago and cheddar Bavarian-style pretzel) — are serving up these twisted treats in record numbers.
Still, several Valley restaurateurs were ahead of the curve on this one. At Whistling Willies in Cold Spring, the $8 soft hot pretzels — served with a jalapeño beer cheese dip — “are a staple of the menu,” says Manager Zach Merante. “It’s one of our best-selling appetizers. The response has been tremendous; both kids and adults like it.” But Merante says that they also serve two of their burgers on pretzel rolls now also. “They’re really popular, too,” he adds.
Cold Spring. 845-265-2012; www.whistlingwillies.com
Of course, burgers on pretzel buns are everywhere now. 151 Grill and Bar in Mahopac offers a burger served on a lightly toasted pretzel bun that regulars swear by.
151 Grill and Bar
Jeanne Rakowski takes it one step further with Twisted Jeanne’s, her 24/7 focus on pretzels. Rakowski was the owner of Twisted Foods, a popular cafe on Rosendale’s Main Street that closed earlier this year; luckily, her pretzels survived. Rakowski says that’s because “it’s fun, it’s clean, and people are happy when they see the food. Kids love it. You can eat it with a lot of different meats and cheeses; it’s a diverse type of bread.”
Rakowski’s most beloved creations are the cinnamon and chocolate filled pretzel croissants (“they’re the hands-down favorite,” she says), but she makes other croissants, a variety of pretzel rolls — basil, Parmesan, garlic, and classic salt — and a popular chicken salad. Currently, she is selling her food at several local markets and other gourmet shops (see her Facebook page for a complete list) and has “no interest in selling to chain grocery stores.” She recently purchased a kitchen space, so stay tuned for more twisted fun. In the meantime, get ready for the holidays. “I play more with the cinnamon and sugar around this time of year,” she says.