At long last, Spread Bagelry is open, and the unbageled masses are washing up on their doorstep.
A fire shortly after their original opening closed their doors, the unchanging website and silent Twitter account mocking those of us who hadn’t been quick enough to try them in the first go round. But, be warned — if you want to try these bagels, you still need to be quick. I got two of the last 4 bagels on Saturday 2.5 hours before closing, and there were crazy long lines on Sunday, too.
So, why all the excitement? I’ve bemoaned the lack of good bagels in Center City before. South Street Bagels are great, but it’s a pretty hefty walk considering their seating is limited to 3 stools in the front. I was hoping Spread Bagelry could deliver me from my chain bagel blues.
First, they have seating. And it’s cute! Little bagel-themed takeoffs on movie posters decorate the walls. (“Of all the bagel joints in all the cities in the world, she had to walk into mine.”)
Be warned, though. It’s hot in there. There’s a wood-burning oven, folks, and the heat’s got to go somewhere. I’m sure it will be delightful come winter, but, for now, plan to eat your bagels in Rittenhouse.
(Yes, that’s their wood pile.)
The bagels are Montreal style, which typically means they’re smaller, sweeter, have a bigger hole, and are cooked in a wood-burning oven (so you may get some smoky char on the bottom, like you get on your wood-fired pizzas.) I’m guessing they may have gotten some “feedback” from the first go round, because while my bagels were sweeter and wood-fired, I wouldn’t say they were noticeably smaller than a standard bagel. They had a slightly crisper, thinner crust than most bagels, which is a good thing — many bagels leave me feeling like I’m tearing through bagel leather to get at the inside.
Unfortunately, they were sold out of everything bagels by the time I arrived. I tried the $9 Spread Classic (cream cheese, smoked nova, tomato, onion) on a plain bagel, and took home a $2 cinnamon raisin.
The Spread Classic was good. Very good. A nice quantity of fish, a not-overwhelming amount of cream cheese, and the fresh, ripe tomato certainly helped. Yay for summer. I would definitely order it again.
The cinnamon raisin was also good, but $2 is about a dollar more than most straight bagels to go, and I didn’t think it was twice as good. Since I’m being nitpicky, the fresh brewed iced tea was also quite small for $2, and had that bitter flavor of a tea that had been steeped too long.
Will I be back? You better believe it! And I hope they’ll be using that sweet iPad cash register to tweet flavor sellouts, lest I forever make it there too late for everything bagels. They’re open 7 AM to 7 PM, seven days a week.
Update, September 6: The everything bagels are excellent. The lines are still epic if you get there after 10 AM. The iced tea is all fixed up (I think they may have just put too little ice in my first glass.) The bagels are made throughout the day, so if your chosen flavor is out… there may be more in just a few minutes.