Friday, August 20, 2010

Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels

OMG. So exciting!!! I have missed my big soft pretzels since going gluten-free! I think it’s going to be super challenging for me to not eat any pretzels when we go to Germany for Oktoberfest next month. But yesterday brought me a lot of joy and happiness when I walked into Kim & Scott’s Café Twist.

We were on a “Pub” crawl of sorts for work yesterday. It wasn’t a crawl that stopped at bars, but rather, we stopped at various businesses throughout Chicago. We had a great time exploring Google, Threadless, Flirty Cupcakes and others. Lunch was at Kim & Scott’s Café Twist where we sat down with the owners and they told us their story.

The couple is adorable. They named their company "Kim & Scott" like "Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream" since Scott's dad used to own a B&J Franchize in Lincoln Park.  Clearly Scott loves Kim and will do anything for her, including selling a ton of pretzels! He seems to be putting his Acting skills to good use in those sales calls.  Kim was from a big ad agency (I think Ogilvy) and had a passion for twisting pretzels. They boot-strapped the business back in 1995 and today, 15 years later, they are in retailers across America (Kroger, Meijer, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart) with their gourmet pretzels and have finally opened their own Café. There was so much to learn, but you’re probably waiting for the details on how yummy the gluten-free pretzel is!

It took two years to develop a good tasting pretzel and I have to say, it was worth the wait. We went to Twist Café for lunch, after everyone devoured Flirty Cupcakes (no gluten-free ones my fellow glutoids. Disappointing). I was worried I wouldn’t be able to eat anything but luckily there were some salads. I got a tuna salad – but be sure to order it without the croutons that are made of pretzels. As I was standing in line to order, my co-worker exclaims, “they have a gluten-free pretzel!!!” I was giddy with joy as I usually am when I find an unexpected gluten-free food product. Of course, I added this to my order.

The gluten-free pretzel was served warm with my salad. It was soft, buttery and tasted like those tasty little Pillsbury crescent rolls but definitely more dense than flaky. I sure did miss that buttery-biscuit flavor since going gluten-free. There's no gritty or cardboard aftertaste with this pretzel - not even the slight chalky film that some gluten-free products leave on your tongue. At first, I thought I wanted a sprinkle of sea salt on top, but the flavor was excellent without the additional sodium. Kim said the pretzels were difficult to twist since the gluten is what gives regular pretzels elasticity. I planned to eat only half the pretzel and save some for later, but I honestly couldn’t put it down. I’m ecstatic to say that they just got authorization for national distribution at Whole Foods for their gluten-free pretzel! Look for it in the frozen aisle in a few months!

The great thing about Twist café is that they make sandwiches with flavored pretzels as the “bread”. Next time, I might just get a sandwich on the gluten-free pretzel!  But, the best part of the whole operation is Kim & Scott’s commitment to giving back to the broader global community and to the environment. I also love the picture of their three kids in aprons and chef hats twisting up pretzels! I’m so happy for gluten-free soft pretzels!

2218 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

On a side note, an amazing way to close out the evening was by meeting up with the STANLEY CUP at Epic!

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