New York’s Famous H&H Bagels Is Celebrating 50 Years Of Tasty Times

You’ve seen them in the film, “You’ve Got Mail.” They were right there on television in “The Office” and “Entourage.”

Are we talking about jewelry, perhaps? Or maybe a designer handbag?

No: A bagel.

And not just any bagel, but one from H&H.

Visitors to New York look for the famous honey-colored circle of dough. The city is noted for having the world’s best bagels, many believe because of the water. But it’s not so simple, at least for H&H.

The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary through Sept. 9, at its five locations—including LaGuardia and JFK airports. For its followers on Instagram, there are special promotions and giveaways including T-shirts and mugs for those posting interesting and tasty moments with an H&H bagel.

Imagine that the bagel has its own social media following!

“You can’t get a bad bagel or a bad pizza in New York,” claims Jay Rushin, H&H’s CEO. “New York has great water, which is a reason. But at H&H we make the same bagel we did 50 years ago—the same steps. It’s a long process and it’s easy to shorten. But we don’t.”

So H&H uses flour, for example, that contains almost twice as much protein as some other bakers.

But New Yorkers and its visitors aren’t the only ones gobbling up the iconic bagel. H&H makes—get this—10 million bagels a year. Many are shipped to South Korea. And nationally, the most popular states for an H&H bagel are California, Illinois, Florida—and Texas.

I myself have had bagels in Tokyo—at a place called New York bagels. And there was a restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, where I had a toasted bagel for breakfast. When I asked where it came from, I was told there actually was a bagel baker in Anchorage. And speaking of bagels, friends of ours who moved to Minot, N.D., actually opened a bagel place there because they missed having one.

The bagel has come a long way from its roots in medieval Poland hundreds of years ago.

At one time in New York City, there were 300 members of the Bagel Bakers Union. That’s right, not anyone could bake a bagel. You had to be a union member.

Jay Rushin spent his first 20 years in the business world on Wall Street. Then in 2014 he joined H&H and is its protector and champion. He speaks proudly of the fact that “we use the best ingredients,” and that “I could make a phone call now and save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by using different flour. But we use the best.”

In addition to the airports, H&H has stores at the new Moynihan Hall at Penn Station, as well as a West Side spot—on Columbus Avenue, between 85th and 86th Streets—and on the East Side—on Second Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets.

They’re easy to find. But you’ll know when you get there. All you have to do is breathe. The bagel has an aroma like no other baked good. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you inhale.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Maren Karlson
Next post Are Europe Travel Restrictions Really Over? What We Learnt During Covid