Sometimes heaven is a place on earth. And if you’re a fan of soft pretzels, heaven resides in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Westerly is a cute, unassuming town that hugs the borders of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Divided by the Pawtucket River, the town was first settled by English colonists in 1661 (because yes, it’s the East Coast). Today its main drag, High Street, consists of antique shops, yoga studios, art galleries and an ice cream parlor. But don’t miss the bright blue building – the Malted Barley.
When you arrive, head straight towards the back of the restaurant. Hang a right, and walk down a flight of stairs. You’ll end up on the backside of the building, revealing a beautiful, antique brick wall. The patio is lit with warm, commercial string lights hung from the trees and with the river streaming in the background, you’ll slowly settle into the food coma you’re about to induce.
It doesn’t take long to learn this restaurant is all about their homemade pretzels (made to order – always). From their pretzel croutons on freshly tossed salads to their pretzel bun sandwiches, they’re all over the menu. But the crème de la crème is their soft pretzel menu. That’s right, a menu dedicated solely to soft pretzels. Wait. For. It.
The soft pretzel menu has a variety to choose from, including traditional styles like salted or garlic with parsley, to wildly stuffed combinations like chipotle pepper and stuffed gouda or stuffed mozzarella and tomato. Wait, it gets better. Then you get to choose your dips. That’s right, dips.
The menu features a dozen dips: beer cheese, apricot butter, blue cheese, spicy brown beer mustard, spinach & artichoke, pesto, marinara, honey mustard, mild brown mustard, honey, nutella and cream cheese.
Our favorite thing to do is go with a group, have everyone order different varieties, then pass your basket around for everyone to try. You will eat every last bite and wish you could take the leftover dip to-go. If you have any, that is.
If you ever find yourself passing through Rhode Island, I hope you’ll find your way to the Balted Marley. This restaurant does what so many restaurants should do: find your niche and embrace it in every way.
Thanks, Balted Marley! We’ll be back.