Islip’s Joe Russo was tired of having to go to a mall to get a quality pretzel.

So, the New York City firefighter started doing some research to bring the soft, doughy treats to retail stores on Long Island. He soon learned of Philly Pretzel Factory, met with the owners, and opened his own location in Bellmore in 2014.

Five years later, he opened a spot in Massapequa Park, and now he will be launching a new store in North Babylon at 1150 Deer Park Avenue.

“I love the brand and I love the concept,” said the Seaford native.

Philly Pretzel Factory, which has over 100 franchise locations, mostly on the East Coast, was started in 1998 in Philadelphia by two college roommates Dan DiZio and Len Lehman.

“The concept was to bake Philly Style soft pretzels all day so that everyone could enjoy a soft pretzel that is served ‘Hot outta the oven’  as they walked through the door,” reads the company’s website.

Russo was one of the first to take the model to Long Island. And now he is bringing it to a place he enjoyed growing up.

“As a kid, I was always hanging out near the area,” Russo told GreaterBabylon on the North Babylon spot. “I used to go with my friends, get ice cream, and hang out on the strip.”

Russo is taking over a former kickboxing school that is 1,200 square feet.

Like his other locations, he’ll be offering a variety of options from bites size to regular pretzels, with plenty of different toppings and dipping sauces.

“The pretzel speaks for itself,” he said. “They are hand twisted and made fresh daily.”

According to Russo, he expects to open his third pretzel venture this fall, sometime in October.

“We’re very excited to open in Babylon; it is a great community,” he said.

In addition to North Babylon, Russo acquired the rights to bring Philly Pretzel Factories to Lindenhurst, Patchogue, and Islip.

Other Philly Pretzel locations that are not owned by Russo include Franklin Square, Syosset, and newly opened Smithtown.

To learn more about the opening, make sure to check back at GreaterBabylon.

Top: Philly Pretzel Factory pretzel bites. (Credit: Facebook)