Back to Home Page

Local Links
Sun Valley Guide
Hemingway in Sun Valley
Real Estate

For the week of October 11 through 17, 2000

Bagel debacle

Express Staff Writer

Buckin’ Bagels, the Wood River Valley’s only supplier of genuine bagels, is dark and empty inside. Two signs—"For Sale" and "Closed for Slack"—are attached to the white clapboard facade of the building at First Avenue and Second Street.

Which is it?

It’s both, though it’s closed now by default.

Molly Hunter, the local representative for the store’s Seattle owner, said Buckin’ Bagels’ baker walked off the job Friday without warning, forcing closure of the 7-year-old Ketchum business.

"There is an ad in the paper [for a baker]. It’s not closed by choice, but our baker left last week, and we can’t find anyone to work," Hunter said.

"We want to have the doors open. We think the product is great—the business wants to continue."

Even so, the owners are still offering the business for sale after owning the operation for four years.

Currently, there isn’t a genuine bagel to be had in the valley.

So unless the bagel-deprived public wants to stoop to eating the frozen variety from the grocery store, or the fake kind—dinner rolls with a hole in them, available at some stores and coffee shops in town—local connoisseurs find themselves in the throes of a major bagel dilemma.

Bagels are made in one way, and one way only. The dough is kneaded, rises and then is made into round shapes (based originally in Austria, in the 1600s, on a horse saddle’s stirrup), boiled and then baked.

This procedure is what gives bagels their unique texture and characteristic crust. To gain that chewy consistency, bakers put in long, early-morning hours.

In fact, a baker must come in approximately four hours earlier than the first bagel is ever sold, said Keith Perry, owner of Perry’s restaurant.

As Perry knows from dealing for 15 years with his own occasional worker shortages, personnel of this type are scarce.

Among the spots now bagel-less are: Perry’s, Starbucks, Tully’s and Terra Cotta Cafe.

Gregg Ferguson, manager of Tully’s, called it a "bagel vacuum."

Local bakery Lyndee’s has offered to bring by samples for him to try, but they also are not real—that is, boiled and baked—bagels, Ferguson said.

He said he has considered suppliers in Seattle and San Francisco but, "We don’t want a bunch of dried-out, rock-hard bagels."

Cottonwood Cafe, in Ketchum, has a type of bagel that comes from Chicago, also parbaked and then baked on site.

"A lot of my customers think my bagels are so much better," the café’s owner, Lynn McCarthy, said.

Mike Root, owner of Hailey’s Cucina Caffe, makes his bagels from the frozen variety supplied by Sysco’s, the regional produce distributor from Boise. They are fresher that way, he said.

"It’s like anything you do, it’s better when it’s right out of the oven," he said.

If there are no authentic bagels in town, what are a bagel addict’s choices?

There’s Lender’s, or there is Sysco. Though whether they are authentic bagels is another matter.

Sysco carries two types of bagels—Sysco Classic Label, and Block and Barrel Classic, which are parbaked, frozen and then shipped, or are baked, frozen, individually sleeved, shipped and then thawed.

In a bagel-less world, beggars may not be choosers. Or they may choose to abstain until the crisis is remedied.


Back to Front Page
Copyright © 2000 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.