When you've visited as many baseball stadiums as I have, you can say you've had your fill of soft pretzels. So it's no wonder that they are one of my favorite forms of bread to eat. There’s just something about the chewiness of a soft pretzel, the burst of flavor from dipping it in mustard, and the crunch of flaky salt that immediately makes my stomach grumble. At Squabisch Pretzels, you can satisfy your knotted carb cravings with its twist on this German classic.

The pretzels at Squabisch go well beyond your average soft pretzel. They are, dare I say, artisanal. I can honestly say that I've never had pretzels like these before. From the bakery's classic pretzel to its take on a Reuben, this bakery has now become my go-to spot whenever I need a treat in between studying.

Squabisch's History

Squabisch Pretzels started as a hobby for owner Uli Elser, who decided to expand his pretzel business during the pandemic after years of selling his flavorful pretzel combinations at farmers' markets. He opened his store earlier this year and has since had long lines out the door. Elser uses a family recipe for the pretzels as his base—a milk and butter batter—and tops them with fun ingredients like Dulce de Leche or anchovies and capers, making it a meal that is both unique and delicious. To make it more exciting, Squabisch changes its menu every week, so there is always something new each time you go.

#SpoonTip: If you want to partake in the pretzel-making process yourself, sign up for one of the bakery's pretzel classes!

Sitting in the middle of a neighborhood reminiscent of Stars Hollow from "Gilmore Girls"—streets lined with boutique wine bars, gift shops, and other eateries—Squabisch dons a butter yellow and fire engine red storefront with a big pretzel sign you just can’t miss. The cozy interior welcomes you with its simple red display cases that showcase delicious weekly specials—savory and sweet—and a peek into its kitchen. Beside the displays, baker's racks are full of fresh pretzels, hot from the oven, ready for restocking and bagging. My family and I decided to get pretty much everything on the menu, ready to eat right when they were handed to us. Trust me when I say these are some of the best German pretzels you can indulge in.

Pretzel Classic w/ Salt

We started off with the Pretzel Classic—the base for all of the other combinations Squabisch offers. This buttery piece of bread was sprinkled generously with Maldon salt, which satisfied my hunger for something salty in the afternoon. This was indeed the way to start off this taste testing right.

#SpoonTip: Try the Vegan Pretzel Classic! It’s the same as the regular Pretzel Classic but without the animal products and tastes just as delicious.

The Reuben

The Reuben is Squabisch's take on the traditional hot sandwich. Much like what is served at New York delis, The Reuben was a medley of well-cured pastrami, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut served in a rye pretzel. It had all the notes of peppery spice I wanted without being too salty. It was served with mustard, giving it a nice little kick.

Funghi Thyme

I'll always be a sucker for mushrooms. I love it on pizza, I love it on pasta, I love it on hamburgers. When I saw that Squabisch put mushrooms on pretzels, my mind was blown. Squabisch roasts crimini mushrooms in garlic and thyme and serves them on a pretzel with mozzarella. It had just the right amount of umami and made for a great vegetarian option.

Pretzel Brat

You can't go to a German restaurant—or a German bakery in this case—without seeing bratwurst. Squabisch offers a grilled bratwurst encased within a pretzel. With sausage locally sourced from Niman Ranch, it's hearty without weighing you down. The combination of spices in the sausage paired with Squabisch's already perfect pretzel dough was a winner.


While the Butterbrezel was one of the smaller pretzels of the bunch, it was a mighty one nonetheless. It's very simple: butter and chives. Though it was made with fewer toppings, it was very filling—it ate like a sandwich! With its rich, buttery flavor and soft, but crispy texture, this pretzel had a good chew that I can only dream will exist in every pretzel I encounter in my life.

Ricotta & Meyer Lemon

If you're like my grandmother and think Meyer lemons are the best baking ingredient there is, then this might just be the pretzel for you. This pretzel has Meyer lemon zest mixed with ricotta cheese stuffed inside of it. It presented a perfect bite after tasting the other savory options. The pretzel was sweet, but not cloyingly so, and it hit the palate just right. It primed us for the final pretzel course—the Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves pretzel.

Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves

The Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves pretzel is exactly what it sounds like: chocolate and raspberry preserves swirled into Squabisch's buttery Classic. It made for a big finish to our pretzel flight. The slightly tart raspberry complimented the rich chocolate, and the hint of salt in the pretzel helped to amplify both flavors. This was definitely a sweet ending.

Squabisch Pretzels has become an instant hit in Berkeley, and I can see why. Going here with my family made for a very memorable experience, especially at a bakery where culture and staying connected to family roots are valued. Squabisch puts a spin on the classics with innovative flavor combinations while still honoring family traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation—and that's what makes this bakery all the more special.