If you’ve never tried a Tell City Pretzel, you’re not alone although we hope to change that!
Tell City is a small historic southern Indiana river city, hugging the banks of the Ohio River just across from Kentucky …
One of the town’s longest operating and most treasured local businesses is Tell City Pretzel, which dates back to 1858 and has been for the most part in continuous operation in Tell City ever since …
Pictured here is a bag of their Original Style Pretzels, which have a fervent enthusiastic following locally and in surrounding states …
Once you’ve tasted Tell City Pretzels, you’ll remember them. Their tagline is “Bite Bravely”, a reference to their hard, crunchy texture. Each Tell City Pretzel is hand formed and baked one small batch at a time.
In addition to their Original Style, Tell City Pretzel makes a Honey Mustard Style as well as Dark Pretzels …
These Dark Pretzels are different from dark potato chips, as they really are cooked just a bit longer to give them a unique “well done” flavor and character.
And here’s some of the Tell City Pretzel company employees hard at work, hand forming their famous pretzels:
The Dark variety isn’t easy to find, but you can order them directly at their website. While there, you’ll also see Light Salt and No Salt Pretzels if that’s your preference …
The regular and honey mustard varieties can be found at stores in the southern Indiana region (there’s a list at their website) and for those who live farther away, the Rural King chain of stores proudly carries them as well.
We bought the bag pictured at our closest Rural King store in Plano, IL on Route 34. If you live anywhere near a Rural King, be sure to stop in, not only for Tell City Pretzels but for the many local varieties of snacks, soft drinks, salsa, and more. Rural King seems to take a special interest in working with small independent U.S. producers and manufacturers, and they get a big “thumbs up” from us for their efforts!
Tell City Pretzel’s Brad Smith graciously consented to answer a few questions about Tell City Pretzel for the readers of DarkPotatoChips.com!
Below are our interview questions and Brad’s responses … we ask about the company’s history, their signature “burnt” pretzels, and more. The questions are in italics and Brad’s responses below. Enjoy this exclusive interview:
Thanks for doing this interview, Brad. Tell City Pretzel is one of the few pretzel bakers in America making dark / burnt pretzels. Can you tell our readers how and why Tell City Pretzel added this variety to your product line?
“Our “burnt” pretzel’s origin goes back to the early days(early 1900’s) of Tell City Pretzels life. Uneven twisted pretzels and uneven heat in the ovens caused some pretzels to burn. These pretzels were separated and offered at a discount. I’m told they were placed in a barrel at the factory store and sold for 5 cents a bag. They were the rejects. Now, because our quality control is better, we burnt the pretzels on purpose.”
How long have you been offering your dark / burnt pretzels?
“As long as there have been Tell City Pretzels.”
Our understanding is your “burnt” pretzels are the same recipe as your Classic variety, but just baked a little longer. Correct?
We see you distribute through the Rural King chain, as well as other more local stores. Does the Rural King typically carry the Burnt pretzels, or is it a special order item?
“The only place to get the burnt pretzels is our factory store. However, I will be test sampling the burnt pretzels at some trade shows this summer. Depending the response, we might offer them on a bigger scale.”
Your company has quite a record of longevity, dating back to the 1850’s. That’s quite an accomplishment in this day and age. What factors do you think contribute to your company’s longevity?
“Obviously the first reason is a good product, but two major factors is the uniqueness of Tell City Pretzels and loyal “cult like” customers. I can be included in this group, because I grew up eating them, but most of our customers don’t just like Tell City Pretzels, they love them!”