I always felt pretzels were an acquired taste. I never cared one way or another about 'em. They were too dry, no zing, no zap, not much flavor, and if you ate too many of them, the roof of your mouth could get shredded.

But Hot Sam changed that for me. A Hot Sam pretzel was soft, warm, flavorful, and especially good with mustard, butter and/or cream cheese. Some people even put ketchup, cheese sauce, and fudge sauce on 'em.

The only place you could find a Hot Sam was in most Michigan malls. I pinpoint Michigan because they were founded right here in our state. Wiki says the headquarters were in Southfield, where it was founded by Julius Young in 1966. He opened the first one in the Livonia mall.

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Even though Hot Sam was sold to the same company that owned Frank's Nursery & Crafts in 1971 (General Host), Hot Sams still operated in just about every Michigan mall. Walking past one of the shops, you couldn't escape that fresh, warm pretzel aroma.

A number of years later, the Mrs. Fields company (maker of cookies, etc) bought Hot Sams and made it part of their corporation. They also bought 'Pretzel Time' and merged the two together as simply 'Pretzel Time'. By the time 2005 rolled around, the last Hot Sam was changed over to Pretzel Time, and that was the end.

So maybe you've walked through a local mall and noticed Hot Sam was gone...no longer will you find it squeezed in-between Orange Julius and a record store, and they've completely disappeared from the food courts. That great aroma is gone, too.


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