The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pratzels is not closing - found a new owner

varda's picture

Pratzels is not closing - found a new owner

I received this good news:


CONTACT:  IRIS SALSMAN (314.495.3017)




The Tradition Continues with New Owner


          Like the 98-year-old sour starter that forms the basis of its legendary rye bread, Pratzel's Bakery will soon open under new ownership.  Jon Mills, a documentary producer and self-professed foodie, has purchased the Pratzel trademark, recipes and kitchen equipment from Ronnie and Elaine Pratzel, who operated St. Louis' only independent and Jewish-owned kosher bakery for 40 years. 

          Mills, who is not Jewish, plans to run Pratzel's out of the company's 7,200-square-foot wholesale baking facility at 9265 Dielman Industrial Court in Olivette. And, in a similar way to how the bakery operated in the U-City Loop for fifty years,  he will convert part of the bakery into a storefront that will sell products right out the oven.

          "The news of the closing of Pratzel's was treated by the media as a local travesty - and in many ways it was," says Mills.  "St. Louis is very proud of its rich past and has witnessed many of its iconic brands and institutions disappear over the last two decades.  To have Pratzel's join the ranks of McDonnell Douglas, Anheuser Busch, The Parkmoor and The Arena was very painful - especially to many people in the Jewish community who depended on the bakery's parve (non-dairy) kosher products."

          Mills goes on to explain that, contrary to popular belief, Pratzel's had not closed because of financial reasons.  During 2010 the owners had a few health issues and were ready to retire. With no family members willing to assume the mantle, they looked for an outside buyer but did not find a good match until Mills stepped forward.

          "Although he is not a relative, Jon is the perfect person to continue my family's legacy," says Ronnie Pratzel.  "He's bright, capable and young enough to have the energy to run this operation.  Plus, he has a deep appreciation for the history and tradition of Pratzel's in our community.  In fact, he's named his company Eastgate Bakers in deference to our location on Eastgate in University City."

           So what does the future hold for Pratzel's?  Ronnie Pratzel will still be involved as a consultant and salesperson.  Many of Pratzel's former employees have expressed interest in returning to the bakery. The legendary bagels will return.  And the tzitzel rye, as well as the upside-down cupcakes, kosher donuts and other beloved favorites.

          Mills is already learning the lingo.  "I believe this opportunity is beshert - meant to be" he explains. "I look forward to greeting old friends and new when we open our doors."