The Twisted Chicken
For over a year now it seems that every time I turn on the TV, I see a new ad for some restaurant promoting their “NEW PRETZEL SANDWICH”…like it’s some kind of exciting discovery or something. And while I may be a little non-plus over all the hoopla it’s only because Isaac’s has had pretzel sandwiches since the 90′s! About 2 years ago I did some sleuthing and wrote a blog post about the history of Isaac’s Pretzel Sandwiches. Here’s what I discovered…
My big sleuthing adventure began by digging through the Old Menu Archives (which could be a blog post all it’s own…or an Indiana Jones movie). I found a menu from 1994 that did not have any pretzel sandwiches and then one from 1996 where they appeared company-wide. My investigation got another break when my boss, Phil Wenger, and our menu queen, Jen Shivery, told me to talk with Doug Kaufmann, a former Isaac’s General Manager from our East York location at Meadowbrook Village.
Doug (L) & Phil (R) back in the day!
According to Doug, one day in 1994 Pat the Bread Guy (who used to deliver bread to Isaac’s, other vendors and to Central Market) had a left-over box of the famous big Philly-style soft pretzels that he gave to him rather than throwing them out! So Doug got some ham, Swiss cheese and mustard and made the first Pretzel Sandwiches at Isaac’s and fed his employees! They raved so much about the twisted concoction that he started ordering more of the pretzels and running them as specials. The idea spread like wildfire through the company, which had around 12 locations by that time (1995) and everyone wanted to get twisted!
Some of Smittie’s treats!
But there were some problems with the pretzels from Philadelphia…they didn’t have a great shelf life and they burned easily in our grills. After a brief search we discovered Smittie’s Soft Pretzels, in York County no less, who had been making pretzels since 1934. Even better, they had already developed a pretzel roll that they sold at their store and highway stands in York County. Their rolls, made with a distinct stone hearth baked recipe, created the perfect combination for some of Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches.
After a few modifications and a brief trial period, Isaac’s Pretzel Sandwiches became a part of the flock officially in 1996 but others would argue with me that 1995 should be the year since we were running them as specials at all our locations. Either way, the most important thing is that even after all this time, Isaac’s Pretzel Sandwiches continue to be a hit with every generation! So what are you doing still reading this? Go to your favorite Isaac’s and get one now!
My most favorite pretzel sandwich of all!!
And that’s the latest scoop from JohnnyKat Roberts, Isaac’s Marketing Coordinator!