If there is a snack that’s not hard to find in this city, it’s a pretzel. They are on virtually every street corner. But finding a quality pretzel — that’s another story.
Husband-and-wife team Barella Kirkland and Leon Pelzer Kirkland set out to solve the problem of the quality pretzel when they started selling their twisted treats at Pelzer’s Pretzels in January of 2012. The two started making pretzels that they first sold at DeKalb Market, and then at Smorgasburg. They followed up with selling the doughy delights for wholesale accounts, events, and through online food marketplaces like Good Eggs and Fab.com. But they saw a real demand for their quality pretzels and opened a small brick-and-mortar shop on Sterling Place in Crown Heights this month.
Instead of making the heart-shaped pretzels you might find from a street-corner cart, the Pelzer’s Philadelphia-style pretzels resemble a bowtie (Leon is a Philly native). And these pretzels are first-class baked goods, made daily in small batches with high-quality ingredients.
“They are chewier, breadier, and more moist than the typical New York pretzel,” says Barella, who noted that the base recipe is made from a simple combination of flour, brown sugar, yeast, and vegetable oil.
The basic Classic Pretzel ($3) stands up well on its own, just the right size for a quick snack or light breakfast. But from the basic pretzel comes many inspired variations. A favorite includes Everything Pretzel, a pretzel spin on an everything bagel baked with bits of onion and garlic and topped with sesame and poppy seeds ($3). A spicy pretzel comes prepared with a generous helping of jalapeno and cheddar ($3.50). And a sweeter variation comes in the form of the Cran-Mary Pretzel ($3), baked with tart cranberries, rosemary, and flecked with lemon zest.
The community has reacted “very positively,” says Barella, adding that the duo hopes to expand their offerings with the addition of new sweet flavors and a breakfast pretzel sandwich. They are also looking to sell wholesale to local bars and continue their online business. With any luck, Pelzer’s Pretzels will be as ubiquitous in Brooklyn as the less-than-fresh pretzels sold on street corners across the borough.
Pelzer’s Pretzels [724 Sterling Pl. between Bedford and Franklin avenues in Crown Heights, (718) 552–2998, www.pelzer