Goshen’s first pretzel shop is getting ready to open.
Ben’s Soft Pretzels will open its location at 1202 Pike St. on Wednesday, June 5, according to president/CEO Brian Krider. The company had announced in April that it would have a training facility/pretzel bakery at the same location to which it moved its corporate offices.
A grand opening will happen later in June. And the company will announce the opening of other stores later this summer, he said.
Hours of the new location will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 to 9 Friday and Saturday. The new place will be open 11 to 9 on its first day.
Goshen’s second pretzel shop could open later this year at the corner of Main and Washington Streets in what’s now The Electric Brew. Jo Jo’s Pretzels announced in May that it would open a location there in addition to the one that it has operated in Shipshewana for two decades.
I would say that the opening of the Ben’s Soft Pretzels location at Concord Mall in 2008 helped revive interest in soft pretzels in Elkhart County.
Before that, Auntie Anne’s took a popular local food on the East Coast and made it available more widely. The stand at University Park Mall in Mishawaka was a destination for pretzel fans.
People heading to Shipshewana have enjoyed Jo Jo’s for years. But Ben’s has been at the mall and at First Friday and at Notre Dame football games.
And suddenly soft pretzels were more available to Elkhart County folks.
When Iechyd Da opened a year ago, a soft pretzel was on its menu on weekends. Owner Summer Lewis said they’ve sold around 4,000 of them in the last year.
And then Pumpernickel’s Pretzel Bakery & Sandwich Shop opened in March, serving both soft pretzels and sandwiches on pretzel buns.
In the midst of all this, Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez asked, “So are pretzels a thing?”
She was asking whether they were hip, whether they were a trend, whether they were something like cupcakes, juice bars and coffee shops.
And my answer is simply: Yes.
Pretzels are a thing in Elkhart County. They’re hip and hot. People here really like them. And they’ll soon have access to more of them than ever before.
Maybe next year it’ll be time to do Pretzel Quest and find the best pretzel in Elkhart County. There are enough options now.
Photo supplied by Jo Jo’s Pretzel.