Wide World of Bagels , a company in Ridgewood , N.J. is trying to create a niche for itself with it’s specialty bagels. Owners Elliot Cohen , a former banker, and Scott Handler, who used to run a car wash business, are trying to establish a chain of franchised specialty bagel shops to compete with the big boys. The shops will offer hand rolled bagels cut in a variety of shapes with cookie cutters. For instance , the entire month of March , one of the specials will be green bagels shaped like shamrocks in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. Other specials may include bagels shaped like cats, bowling pins, business cards, red hearts ( for Valentine’s Day ), orange pumpkins or ghosts ( for Halloween) and Christmas trees.Franchise fees will be in the neighborhood of $ 40,000 plus royalties. So far seven franchises have been sold and the owners rare optimistic that the number will increase rapidly.
Colored bagels are not new ; local bagel shops already offer green bagels for St. Patricks Day and orange colored ones for Halloween. All these different shapes are new, however, and I wonder if they will have much appeal to the general public. Isn’t the taste of the bagel affected by it’s shape? Traditionally, a bagel is shaped like a donut ; won’t making it like a ghost or a shamrock cause the center to cook differently ?
Even otherwise, all these different shapes seem strange to a traditionalist like me. I know a shamrock may appeal to someone with Irish roots but to bite into a green shamrock or an orange pumpkin or worse still, a business card or a bowling pin definitely would feel strange to me. I presume these custom bagels are priced at a premium but , even if they were at the same price as regular bagels, I’d pass on them any day. To me, a bagel must look like a bagel .And spare me these odd flavors. I tried a strawberry bagel once and couldn’t finish it . Never again. Give me an egg bagel, split in two and toasted with a little butter or else, an everything bagel split in two with a shmear of cream cheese and a few slivers of lox.