Lunch Box : Pretzel Spot
I am a sucker for coupons; when I received one this past week for the Pretzel Spot Café, my friend and I decided to explore this recently-opened restaurant. The café, located inside the old Carlisle Ribbon Mill (330 East Louther Street), is surprisingly warm and cozy on the inside despite being housed in an old, tall, industrial-looking brick building. The wooden walls and deep red table cloths create a very relaxing, welcoming ambiance.
While the Pretzel Spot Café has an extensive gourmet selection for catering, the everyday menu focuses on two items: pretzel logs and burritos. In the former category there are five choices on the breakfast menu and fifteen on the lunch. Since we arrived at about 11:00am, the staff was in the transition phase between the two meals and we had to wait roughly five minutes – no time at all – for them to make us lunch logs. There were, however, several breakfast logs still available, foil-wrapped and warm, in the display window. The make-your-own burrito station was just getting set up for the lunch crowd when we were there. The selection of meats, condiments, and toppings – including chicken, steak, pork, two types of beans, two types of rice, salsas, guacamole, cheese, and more – was astounding and looked absolutely delicious; the next time I go I will try one if not too enticed by the logs. The pretzel logs were priced between $2.85 and $3.25, while the burritos ran from $6.45 to $6.85.
There are no waiters at the café – a menu is posted in front of the register and you order from the counter. Since we were only looking for a light lunch, my friend and I ordered the Turkey, Swiss, and Dijon Pretzel Log; the Steak Pretzel Log; and six “Little Smokies” (miniature sausages wrapped in pretzel dough); we intended to split all the items in order to sample everything. After roughly five minutes someone came out and handed us our food. Everything was wrapped in foil, absolutely steaming hot, and mouthwateringly fragrant. We cut our pretzel logs – each was about 6-8 inches long – in half, divided the thumb-length pretzel-wrapped sausage links, and dug in.
First mention must go to the pretzel exterior itself, which the café prides itself on with good reason. The dough tasted like that of a very good homemade soft pretzel; there was no mistaking the texture or taste for that of the pretzel breads one too often finds, which taste and feel more like ordinary bread. Each log, large and small, was nicely (in my opinion, perfectly) sprinkled with the traditional coarse pretzel salt. The Turkey log was great; it was full of meat, with a slice of Swiss and a hint of dijon. There was a condiment station near the drinks, and I thought mustard was an excellent complement to the flavorful meat and cheese combination. The “Little Smokies”, which each disappeared in two bites, were amazing; they had a smoky, robust flavor and were not too terribly greasy. I could have easily eaten all six had my companion not been there. The standout of the meal, however, was definitely the Steak. Filled with beef, peppers, onions, American cheese, and A-1 sauce, it was tangy, mildly sweet, hearty, and extremely satisfying. Both my friend and I agreed that had we known this log was so good, we would have both ordered a whole one. This may very well become my new standby here, and with a price of only $3.25 it would make an excellent starter for a burrito or an addition to another log (for hearty eaters or those looking for a larger lunch than we were).
The meal came to only $9.01 after tax, and since the coupon only shaved off fifty cents we both considered it an incredible deal for such wonderful food. For anyone looking for a speedy, inexpensive, delicious, and satisfying lunch – with options for a hearty meal or lighter fare – the Pretzel Spot Café tops my list of recommendations.
Reviewer CP | August 2012