Here’s a real twist for one of America’s favorite snacks: there’s only one pretzel maker in the Bronx and her name is Alexis Faraci.
She’s the owner of Bronx Baking Co. and Bronx Pretzel of 175 Walnut Avenue in Port Morris.
Just like the pretzels she makes, her businesses are on the rise.
After spending six years at a desk job, the Mott Haven resident wanted to engage in something more hands on to earn a living.
Faraci began making all sorts of breads and other baked delicacies some years ago and realized that she stood a chance at going into the business herself.
Growing up in Belmont to a very Italian family, she knew her original sample group of taste testers wouldn’t hold back if they had not been satisfied with her baking.
However, to the shock of few, they couldn’t stop eating her pretzels.
After that and much more overwhelmingly positive feedback on her pretzels, Faraci became exclusively knotted up in selling the German-style treat.
“Pretzels are a specialty, people get excited when you mention them because they aren’t something you can get anywhere,” Faraci said. “You can actually make them with simple ingredients that you probably already have at home,” she added.
As her business has grown, Bronx Pretzel became the first Bronx client to attend Smorgasburg, the famed open-air food market in Brooklyn.
“That’s why I named the business after the borough, I realized I was the first pretzel maker here and wanted to represent the Bronx the right way,” Faraci said.
She went on to explain that the lye-dipping process is what makes her pretzels a pretzel.
Without it, it is simply pretzel shaped bread with none of the true flavor.
“The lye is what gives it a crispy dark crust with a slightly bitter salty finish. Our pretzel in particular is modeled after the German Swabian style, with a fat bottom and skinny arms,” Faraci said.
According to the pretzel aficionado, pretzels don’t require much salt for flavor because of the lye bath that they undergo.
She also unabashingly admitted to not eating anyone else’s pretzels, eluding to the fact that many pretzels that come from street carts and an unnamed major league baseball stadium are already stale prior to serving.
Hence the need to oversaturate with salt as a cover up.
Also, Americans don’t give pretzels the recognition that they deserve when they only eat them with mustard according to Faraci.
“They’re meant to be eaten with meats, cheeses and butter,” Faraci said, while mentioning her many travels to Germany influenced her style and understanding of the Bavarian bread.
Her Italian upbringing also inspired her experimentation with pretzels.
Bronx Pretzel makes an assortment of other pretzel products including pretzel sticks and pretzel slider rolls to go along with its assortment of pretzel twists such as the jalapeno cheese twist, everything twist and cheddar twist pretzels.
Her pretzels can be found in trendy bars, taverns and restaurants throughout the city. A bar bavorite is Bronx Pretzel’s 18-inch original pretzel that can easily feed a group of six.
Faraci has made pretzel sandwiches, tried them with cucumbers, and has even made pretzel and cheese calzones in the past.
Some of her favorite creative pretzel combinations have been with Nutella, mozzarella and caramel.
Faraci also says that mixing pretzels with ice cream gives a phenomenal combination of the sweet and salty flavors.
Bronx Pretzel orders and retailing opportunities can be found at bronx