Do the twist: Couple bringing a piece of Philly to Riverview

Ever heard of Philly Pretzel Factory? Tampa Bay's first opens in July.

click to enlarge Philly Pretzel Factory churns out everything from pretzel twists to traditional soft pretzels. - COURTESY OF PHILLY PRETZEL FACTORY
Courtesy of Philly Pretzel Factory
Philly Pretzel Factory churns out everything from pretzel twists to traditional soft pretzels.

Riverview residents can thank Michele and John Maffei for introducing the region’s first Philly Pretzel Factory to their neck of the woods. Originally from Philadelphia, the wife-and-husband duo have always dreamed of teaming up with the pretzel bakery franchise to open their own location.

Pretzels are an iconic element of Philly food culture, after all.

Their freshly baked goodness is shooting for a July launch at 11244 Boyette Road, next door to the soon-to-open Leaven Brewing Co.

“We are incredibly excited and are looking forward to getting involved in the community,” said Michele, who tells CL she and John really know the product.

Founded 20 years ago by two college pals, Dan DiZio and Len Lehman, Philly Pretzel Factory churns out the traditional Philly-style soft pretzel, yes. However, the bakery also offers its piping-hot salty and sweet knots as pretzel twists, mini pretzels, bite-size pretzel nuggets, pretzel dogs, and cheesesteak pretzels (because of course).

And don’t worry — there’s a bunch of sauces meant for dunking, everything from spicy brown mustard to chocolate dip to Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Frozen lemonades, both classic and raspberry, should quench just about any customer’s thirst, too.

According to Michele, the couple’s excited to meet their customers and become a regular part of their celebrations. She and John have two young kids, whose school district they’re very involved with, so they look forward to connecting with like-minded folks who take pride in the community.

With products in Walmart and stand-alone bakery, transportation and entertainment venues, Philly Pretzel Factory has more than 165 franchised locations throughout the country. The stores give off a neighborhood vibe because they’re locally owned and operated, Michele says, and the Riverview outpost will be no different.

Riverview joins the Winter Haven and Naples stores as Florida’s third Philly Pretzel Factory.

“We know it will be welcomed,” Michele said, “because it’s not only something new to the market, but a lot of people in Tampa Bay moved here from the East Coast where the brand is based.”

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