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Best Pretzels and Water Ice?

I'm going to Philadelphia this weekend. Last time we visited, we bought six from the Pretzel Factory (we should have purchased a dozen for a few pennies more). Where should we purchase a dozen pretzels this time? Also any suggestions on Water Ice would be much appreciated since it will be 90+ degrees!

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  1. The pretzels at Miller's Twist in Reading Terminal Market are phenomenal but they are not the "traditional" Philly-style pretzels you may be looking for. They are much more moist and more like Auntie Anne's but are worthy of a try. You may want to try the Federal Bakery for more traditional ones or go one of the many Philly Pretzel Factory locations since they are pretty decent.

    The place to go for water ice is John's.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

      That is John's at 7th and Christian, nothing comes close

      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        hunh. guess i'll have to try it next time i'm down there.
        i have a suspicion that i won't like it as much as others do... i figure it'll be like margaritas, where i like the cheapo ones the most. i feel like with most water ice, you kind of have to embrace the artificiality.
        that said, i'm a purist in that it's lemon or cherry, nothing else counts. i realize that the 'lemon only' folks are even purer than i.

        1. re: Bob Loblaw

          They have lemon, cherry, pineapple, and chocolate. Take a taste of the pineapple.

          1. re: Bob Loblaw

            What is most different about John's is that it remains smooth and icy. At the other places, it always seems like I have a cup full of flavored liquid with ice particles in it.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              yeah, i kind of like that. as long as it's got that 'cherry' flavor.

              1. re: Bob Loblaw

                ok. made it down to John's today.
                definitely liked the water ice. probably liked the lemon more than the cherry.
                i might have liked it more than some of the other places i've been; but not in a night-and-day sort of way. it was definitely quite smooth. i would go there again, if in the vicinity. i wouldn't make a special trip.

                1. re: Bob Loblaw

                  I don't think I'd make a special trip for any water ice myself. Capogiro's another story...

      2. To branch off the water ice suggestions without hijacking the thread, I hope: does anyone know good spots in deep South Philly, like below Snyder Ave? I know there are some old-school water ice joints but I don't know where they are. I think the original Rita's is down there somewhere? Is it worth visiting?

        3 Replies
        1. re: barryg

          There is a place on Oregon ave around 13th. I think its called "Pop's"

          1. re: barryg

            There is no "original" Rita's in South Philly as far as I know. I thought they started out in Bensalem before the franchises began.

            Pop's is on 13th and Oregon and Italiano's is on 12th and Shunk. But to me, John's is better than both of them. The other two are good if you want a wider variety of flavors.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              The "original" Rita's is in Bensalem, but Rita's is not owned by the people that started the franchise anymore.

          2. John's is hands down the best, but Mancuso's (as in the cheese shop) makes a tasty lemon

            1. Your trip to Philly probably happened already, but for your next visit, Philly Flavors on 20th and Fairmount has great water ice! Good texture and flavor and lots of variety. They sell pretzels too, but they're nothing to write home about.

              1. I have no suggestions, just a "Thanks" for prompting a childhood summer memory of the water ice truck going through the neighborhood (way up here in Perkasie) on warm nights and getting a grape ice and a soft pretzel. Classic combo.