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Papal Knot is Philly Preztel Factory's Tribute to Pope


An image of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, with some knotty pretzels.

As Pope Francis wraps up his time Friday in New York and prepares to head to Philadelphia for the weekend, the folks at Philly Pretzel Factory are gearing up, too.

They’ve created a special pretzel dubbed Papal Knots, and gained access to sell it as one of the vendors allowed into the 20-block-long gated area where the pontiff will celebrate Mass.

Their hope? “If we’re going to get any opportunity to have the pope taste one of our pretzels, that would be it,” says Marty Ferrill, president of Philly Pretzel Factory.

It’s a long shot, he knows, but regardless of what Pope Francis does, Ferrill expects all the attention will be good for the city and possibly his brand.

 “It will bring a lot of people into the city. One of the things when you go to a new place, you’ll try the local food,” he says, and what’s more local to Philly than the pretzel? (That’s a rhetorical question, so please send your votes for Philly Cheesesteak somewhere else.)

The Papal Knot was inspired by a National Catholic Register reporter who said Pope Francis is partial to the iconic image of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. A painting in Germany shows Mary undoing a long series of knots that looks like, well, a big pretzel being unraveled.

Thus the custom pretzel was born. “We make everything fresh in our stores, so that morning we’ll keep making them as long as people keep buying them,” Ferrill says.

This isn’t the first time Philly Pretzel Factory created a special pretzel. “The most famous one recently, we did the Tim Tebow,” Ferrill says, “just as a welcome to the city.” When the popular quarterback was trying out for the hometown Eagles, the company created a pretzel showing the classic Tebow end-zone move—he would do a prayer with an elbow on his knee and a hand on his forehead, and so the company copied the move in a pretzel.

 “Then we were flooded with people saying they wanted to buy them,” he says. “We had stores that sold a couple hundred of them.”

Tebow, alas, was cut from the team, but when a door closes a window opens, a religious person might say, and now it’s the pope’s turn to get a Philly Pretzel Factory tribute.



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Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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