The idea of lunch in the Loop doesn't immediately prompt images
of high-end meats, an eco-friendly mission and the absence of
extra-large sodas, but Florian Pfahler, owner of Hannah's Bretzel,
is trying to change all of that.
"When I came to America (from Bavaria) to work in the
advertising industry, I was shocked by the 'fast food' nature of
lunch and all the waste that came along-plastic, paper, condiments
I didn't request," he says.
He also missed his homeland's pretzels, which are as
popular with Germans as croissants are with the French. Ultimately,
he combined his passion for good food, German pretzels and a
dedication to sustainability and opened Hannah's Bretzel, named for
Now with three Chicago Loop locations, and looking to add
more spots in the next few years, Hannah's Bretzel is a delicious
alternative for a quick lunch that leaves you feeling good about
First and foremost, the food is really good. On a recent
no-school Monday, my sons and I all feasted on soup combo lunch
specials. All the soups are house-made daily and taste it. Pfahler
is committed to tracing the origins of the restaurant's food, from
the soup ingredients to freshly cut meats.
Unlike many sandwich shops, the toppings don't taste as if
they've been sitting in containers for weeks. The arugula was fresh
and peppery. The cucumbers were crisp. Meats were thinly sliced at
point of order, another plus for my sons, who loved watching the
slicer work. Have I mentioned the pretzel bread? Flavorful without
being salty, it truly is the bread that makes the
In keeping with its environmental mission, Hannah's serves
its food in minimal packaging, including biodegradable paper
products for wrappings and soups. The drink selection is all
individual waters, teas and juices in recyclable
"Look, in this economy, we all have to trim the excess and
keep only what works best," Pfahler says. With food this good,
let's hope he's on to something.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.
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