Pretzel wars: Philly Pretzel, Taste of Philly

Dan DiZio, CEO of the Philly Pretzel Factory with a tray of fresh baked pretzels on April 23, 2012. (File photo: David M Warren / Staff Photographer)

Philly Pretzel Factory says it has acquired three Taste of Philly pretzel stores in Philadelphia's northern suburbs, and that Taste founder Vince Marinelli is going back to work for Philly Pretzel Factory as project manager in charge of new stores.

Philly Pretzel factory co-founder Dan DiZio called the return of Marinelli, his past protege, and his wife and kids, who work in the business, a 'big win." Marinelli handled farmers' market wholesaling and other responsibilities during the early years of Philly Pretzel, which claims 100 stores, before he set up Taste of Philly in 2000. Another 12 Taste of Philly stores will remain independent for now.

Philly Pretzel Factory plans to open 16 additional stores this year. The chain has locations from New York south to North Carolina and plans to add more in the Denver area, N.J. and Pa.

As my colleague Michael Armstrong notes, the Taste of Philly brand may be too popular to remain with the pretzel chain. Adverse federal trademark-infringement decision here.