In a year where so much (OK, everything) has felt uncertain, nostalgia is a rock we’ve all relied on. Maybe you’ve picked up jump roping, binged that one show you loved from the ’90s, or accidently tie-dyed your dog after polishing off two bottles of wine. Either way, it’s entirely natural to rehash happy memories, particularly when it makes the current situation so much more palatable. If you’re looking for your next outlet, head immediately to Shappy Pretzel Co.
Run by actor and Philly native Adam Shapiro (Sense8, Never Have I Ever), Shappy is a tiny pop-up in Studio City, and by all accounts, a complete accident. While everyone else was screaming at sourdough starter kits in April, Shapiro was passing the time at home messing around with Philly soft pretzel recipes - something he grew up eating as a kid, but had never made in his entire life. But after several taste tests involving friends and Ryan Seacrest eating one on national television (Shapiro’s wife, actress Katie Lowes, served as a co-host on Live With Kelly And Ryan), one thing became abundantly clear - this was more than just a quarantine hobby. Shappy Pretzel Co. was about to take on a life of its own.
Philly soft pretzels differ from your average concession-stand soft pretzel in a few ways. For starters, they’re shaped like figure-eights and baked close together, so you have to tear them apart. Secondly, they’re dense and chewy, but with a slightly crisp exterior to provide a pop in each bite. Most importantly though, they must come surrounded by a mob of people in Eagles jerseys yelling about where the “WUDDER” came from. Shappy Pretzel Co. excels in all three areas.
Seriously, if you’re still skeptical about the legitimacy of a real Philly soft pretzel in LA, just go to Gourmet 47 Caffe in Studio City (their pick-up location) and count the number of Philly natives you see. The crowd is one craft services table away from a Silver Linings Playbook back lot (semi-related: Silver Linings star - and Philly native - Bradley Cooper is a big fan), but jokes aside, they’re also the reason why Shappy’s waitlist is already two-weeks deep, despite only being open since mid-August.
Plain and simple, there isn’t a soft pretzel in LA that comes close to a Shappy Pretzel. Whether you grew up eating soft pretzels every day or you’ve never had one in your life, it doesn’t matter. What Shappy provides is universal - that brief moment after biting into one where everything that’s awful fades away, and nostalgic bliss takes over. And lucky for us, there’s three to a bag.
After one bite of a Shappy Pretzel, you’ll realize quickly how many sh*tty soft pretzels you’ve eaten in your life. Chewy yet crisp, moist, but never soggy - this is the kind of pretzel you take one bite of while stopped at a traffic light, and immediately have to pull over. Mostly so you can finish it, but also because you need to text everyone you know from Philly.