There is nothing - nothing - like walking through the mall and catching a whiff of that sweet, baked cinnamon and sugar scent. Right off the bat, you know what it is because there's only one baked treat that can smell that good and take up a spot in practically every mall across the U.S. The origin of the smell is Auntie Anne's pretzels and, by the time you've smelled it, you're already thinking about breaking off a piece of one of those tender, cloud-like pretzels.


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There's some kind of magic in being handed a paper bag with a pretzel inside that's almost the size of your head. Or being handed a cardboard container that's filled with miniature pretzel bites, with a side of dipping sauce that's bound to create a heavenly union between the two. If we've made you hungry, good - then we're on the right track. Before you run off to the mall to grab one (or several) of everyone's favorite pretzels, here are some things you didn't know about the chain known as Auntie Anne's.

Auntie Anne Was Real, And Her Pretzels Started As A Farmer's Market Special

The reason that Anne Beiler got the name 'Auntie' was that she was an aunt to 30 nieces and nephews. Growing up in a large Mennonite family with seven brothers and sisters, Anne understood the value of hard, rewarding work. However, while she had the name for a food establishment, she didn't have the idea until she was already married to a man by the name of Jonas Beiler. It was his dream to own a family counseling center, and Anne took it upon herself to help his dream become a reality.

In order to do this, she took up residence at a booth at the local farmer's market and, thus, 'Auntie' Anne's pretzels was created. In 1988, the first soft pretzels were made and sold thanks to the equipment that Anne had at home already, and that's how she got her start in Downington, Pennsylvania. However, there was one more piece to the puzzle that was needed before the pretzels were what they are today. While no additional equipment was needed, Anne made a mistake one day and ordered incorrect ingredients and, upon trying to determine how to make her soon-to-be-famous pretzels, Jonas suggested some alternatives. These 'secret' ingredients are what gave the pretzels their signature flavor and texture, making what could have been a disaster something that was a genuine turning point.

Nothing Is Made Off-Premises

What's even more incredible is that all of those soft pretzels are actually made on-premise. This means that no matter how small the location is, the pretzel you've ordered has been hand-twisted and baked right there. This is also why the scent of these delicious pretzels wafts around causing people's mouths to water; every fresh spice and ingredient smells so much better than something that's pre-made.

And if you've ever had the chance to watch Auntie Anne's employees whip those pretzels into their classic shapes, you'll know exactly just how fast it happens. It's practically a skill set to be able to twist a pretzel that quickly, with the fastest pretzel-twisting time being 3.5 seconds, according to Delish.

No matter how many menu items a food establishment adds to its menu, it seems that the original items are usually never outsold by something new. This could be because the new items are limited or simply because the OG food is just that good... except in the case of Auntie Anne's. While the chain's original pretzels are delicious and perfect in every way, there are some menu items that have sold faster. One of those is the pretzel nuggets, which have been outselling the original pretzel since 2010. What's even more incredible is the fact that from their creation more than a decade ago, they've been consistently popular from day one, making them an instant hit. It could be the fact that Auntie Anne's is often found in the mall and is known as a grab-and-go establishment, and pretzel nuggets are highly portable. Or, it could be the perfect dippability of these small nuggets of pretzel perfection... Or maybe it's just the fact that they're that delicious.

The lemonade sold by Auntie Anne's is also a best-seller even though not many people stop by for something to drink. However, this lemonade has a reputation among hardcore fans as being the best drink to have along with those salty, original recipe pretzels. It's perfectly tart and sweet and even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records when it was used to fill the largest soft drink cup in the entire world.

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