A Look Inside the Philly Pretzel Factory in Bayonne

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The pretzels baked here aren’t just any pretzels, these are warm, soft, uniquely shaped, and low in fat. National Pretzel Day may only come around once a year, but these pretzels should be celebrated every day. Tucked away at 713 Broadway, between 32nd and 33rd Street in Bayonne, is a pretzel-lovers dream — a pretzel factory that makes fresh treats every single day. Read on to learn more about the Philly Pretzel Factory based in Bayonne.

The Story Behind the Philly Pretzel Factory

This pretzel factory may not have originated in Bayonne, but the Bayonne branch has become a go-to for locals in Northern Jersey. The business was actually born and bred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a man who grew up eating pretzels, Dan DiZio. “He started selling soft pretzels in his neighborhood at age eleven, becoming a child entrepreneur with a sales team of kids from all around the town,” as stated on the website. Eventually, Dan partnered with his college buddy Len Lehman to found the original Philly Pretzel Factory location in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia.  Dan and Len were inspired by their love for pretzels and Philly-based bakeries and the Philly Pretzel Factory was born, inevitably so. 

What started off as a “why not” idea, with a small storefront in Philly, developed into a successful franchise. “They held a deep respect for those founding fathers whose wholesale bakeries in the warehouses in and around Philadelphia fed the locals at all times of day. Now, after more than twenty years of twisting, Philly Pretzel Factory is over 170 stores strong and making things better as we grow into additional states every year,” according to the origin story on the website. 

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The Owners of the Bayonne Branch

Now, Bayonne has its own branch owned and operated by Tracee and Tom Mangine since 2017. “We are both Bayonne natives. We moved to Woodbridge, NJ in 1987, which is where we still live. We thought opening a store in a city where we have roots was a good idea, where we still have family and friends. We are also making new friends,” shares Tracee.

“I worked in retail my whole life and knew the industry of working with and running a brand. We liked the fact that the pretzels are made fresh every day. It is a very good product and who doesn’t love fresh, soft, hot pretzels? It’s a good comfort food and snack,” Tom tells Hoboken Girl.

Tom and Tracee didn’t have any experience in pretzel-making or running a restaurant, but Tom’s experience came from running a Thumann’s route. “He worked with big supermarket chains, and as far as running a restaurant, I always enjoyed baking and designing cakes and desserts. As a child, I used to make pretzel-shaped cookies with my father, so twisting the pretzels came easy to me,” shares Tracee.

The Menu

Fresh baked goods from a factory may seem like an “oxymoron,” as described on the website, but the pretzels truly are made fresh, all hand-twisted in-house. The Philly Pretzel Factory states, “Flour, water, yeast, and a pinch of salt are all you ‘knead’ for a fresh, no-mess snack. Simple makes them better! Because our pretzels are so deliciously simple, we leave it up to you to customize with dips and mustards.”

What’s unique about the Bayonne location is that Tom adds 14g of protein to the pretzel dough. The result is fewer carbs, more protein, no preservatives, and no fat. The idea is to “tackle the stigma of salty treats like pretzels, being labeled unhealthy. These pretzels are healthier for kids, and for everyone to enjoy,” Tom explains.

The pretzel options work best for large groups, as many of the menu items include combos to accommodate customers in need of catering. Some of the larger combos include The Crowd Pleaser {25 pretzels and a bottle of mustard}, Rivet Party Tray {small or large and over 120 salted rivets and dips}, and the Mini Cheesesteaks & Mini Dogs Tray {36 mini cheesesteaks, mini-pretzels, and dips}, and more. 

Fret not if you’re simply looking to sample the delectable pretzels or feed a party under five. Customers can purchase pretzels both mini and standard-sized individually. The Rivet Shaker {bite-size rivets served in a shaker cup and dip} is the perfect option for someone looking for a light-weight snack or upgrade to the Large Rivet Box {55-60 rivets}. Similarly, there’s a Cinnamon Rivet Shaker {rivets covered in a cinnamon sugar blend}. 

Specialty items include a Cinnamon Twist, Pretzel Dog, Spicy Pretzel Dog, and a Spicy Sausage Dog. Additionally, luckily for us, homemade dips are sold by the bottle. Some of the flavors include yellow mustard, buttercream, sriracha, cheddar cheese, brownie batter, and cinnamon.

The Uniquely Shaped Pretzels

The delicious magic doesn’t just stop there. Tracee herself rolls out on-trend pretzel shapes for all occasions. Some shapes include a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick’s Day, a heart for Valentine’s Day, a football helmet for the Super Bowl, champagne glasses for New Year’s Eve, reefs and candy canes for Christmas, a turkey for Thanksgiving, and more —the list goes on and on. “My customers are my inspiration to make the pretzel shapes. They sometimes like to give me a challenge and ask for characters, or vehicles. I’m up for a challenge. I guess it comes from the crafty part of me,” says Tracee.

In April, the factory hosted a sponsorship drive for locals to donate money for a special batch of pretzels brought to Bayonne Medical Center. The pretzels were shaped into words saying “Thank You, Front Line.”

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The Philly Pretzel Factory Experience

The founders of Philly Pretzel Factory aimed to use the same machinery and techniques as the old-school bakers did, then modernize them and add their own twist to the approach. “We drove from Philly to Florida in a rental truck to purchase original pretzel equipment from retired pretzel bakers. You can come in and see us twist fresh pretzels every day, just like we do in stores across the country,” stated on the website. 

At the Bayonne location, there is a spacious open-concept that flows from the front to the back of the store. Customers can see Tracee and Tom preparing the dough, twisting them to perfection on the tables behind the counter, and pulling fresh out of the oven.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Pretzel Kits are now available for purchase. “We are hoping our Pretzel kits will be fun for everyone. They will include enough dough to roll out 10-12 pretzels, cinnamon and sugar mix, pretzel salt, and four dips,” Tracee says. “You can make our sweet cinnamon twist or our original salted pretzels. You can slice, cut, roll, shape, and bake. All instructions will be included for you to enjoy making pretzels at home.”

The factory is offering takeout, delivery, and has an outdoor seating area. Customers have the option of calling in an order at 201-455-2811 or ordering through the website. Pro-tip, there are always stellar coupons on the website for the combo meals.

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Victoria is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square, and Jersey City. Through playing softball in town for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, Hoboken Fire Museum/Hoboken Historical Museum, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting, or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.