Pretzel Logic

If you've ever had ice cream down the Shore, you've seen a regional treat: the pretzel cone. But how did pretzel cones get to the Shore, and why don't we see them almost anywhere else?

To answer this question, I called Mike Williamson, President and CEO of Bristol, Pennsylvania-based The Cone Guys, a maker of specialty ice cream cones.

According to Williamson, the pretzel cone started in Philly, where the Pennsylvania Dutch were fond of sticking pretzels in just about anything.

The late Ian Cooper, who founded The Cone Guys, grew up in Philly, where, Williamson says, they used to serve ice cream with a pretzel stick.

"It was a big thing," Williamson says. "People used to get ice cream in a cup with the pretzel stick."

It wasn’t long before Cooper turned that tradition into a cone; Now The Cone Guys have been selling pretzel cones for 20 years.

For those who haven’t tried it, the combination of something crunchy and salty with sweet ice cream presses all the alimentary pleasure buttons.

Although The Cone Guys ship their pretzel cones from Bar Harbor, Maine to Cape May, and down into Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Ocean City, Maryland, they’re most popular on the Jersey Shore. Outside this region, people don’t seem to understand the pretzel cone.

To explain, Williamson shared a story about a woman from Philly and her husband who opened an ice cream shop in Tempe, Arizona. The husband ordered pretzel cones but couldn’t give them away; no one was interested. His wife, annoyed. started dipping the pretzel cones in chocolate. Suddenly they were flying out of the store.

"People who aren’t familiar with them just don’t get it," Williamson says. "It’s a polarizing product, you either love them or you hate them." Williamson claims his wife eats only pretzel cones.

If you haven’t tried them yet, give it a go. After all, it’s a Jersey thing. Here are a few places to enjoy pretzel cones down the Shore:

Skipper Dipper
9305 Long Beach Blvd
Peahala Park

Uncle Charley’s Ice Cream
310 Washington St.
Cape May
(609) 884-2197

A La Mode Ice Cream Parlor
301 E. 55th Street
(609) 398-2207

Allison Fishman is a cooking teacher, TV host and author of You Can Trust A Skinny Cook [] . For delicious humor & recipes, visit or follow @allisonfishman on Twitter.

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