Several years ago, husband and wife Nick and Suzy Agostino began selling their Penguin Pretzel Factory soft-baked pretzel twists at MOSI and Busch Gardens.
Customers loved the pretzels and kept asking the couple to open a restaurant. In 2013, they opened a small shop in New Port Richey, while still continuing their wholesale business.
Right before opening, Suzy Agostino decided to stuff the pretzels with ingredients such as cheeses and meats, and her idea for stuffed, soft-baked pretzel sandwiches was born.
"Everyone just seemed to love it," said Suzy Agostino, co-owner. "The lines were going around the building."
The Penguin Pretzel Factory recently opened a larger, second location in Oldsmar. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu features a variety of baked, stuffed pretzel sandwiches made with fresh ingredients.
"We stuff them with everything," said Suzy Agostino. "Everything from pepperoni and mozzarella, to steak, bacon and cheese, to jalapeno and cream cheese."
Freshly made dipping sauces such as cucumber dill, honey mustard and nacho cheese are served on the side.
Suzy Agostino said the two most popular pretzel sandwiches are the King (chicken, bacon, ranch dressing and cheese) and the spinach and feta, but the Cuban is gaining popularity.
Savory or sweet party platters are available, and Suzy Agostino said that Super Bowl Sunday is the most popular occasion for customers to order platters.
Penguin Pretzel Factory is at 4022 Tampa Road. It's open Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sunday. For more information, call (813) 925-9771, or visit penguinpretzels.com.
Times correspondent Danielle Hauser
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