Restaurant Review: Spread Bagelry

I love bagels. So, when I first heard that Spread Bagelry would be coming to the Rittenhouse Square area, it immediately went on my list of places to try. However, three days after opening in May, a small fire broke out in the shop and it ended up closing for repairs for a bit. Chester and I finally got around to trying it out for lunch last week.

Spread specializes in Montreal-style bagels, which are hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, and baked in wood-fired oven. At first glance, the only thing that seems to differentiate this kind of bagel from the typical New York style bagel is the larger hole. But, it’s, chewier, lighter and sweeter than that variety. Spread offers plain, sesame, poppy, everything, whole wheat, whole wheat everything, and a sweet daily special.

Toppings include Amish cream cheese (plain and flavored), butter, jam, peanut butter, smoked salmon, bacon/turkey bacon, tomato, onion, and apple slices. I chose to keep things simple and opted for the mixed berry variety, last week’s featured special, on my whole wheat bagel. It was light and fluffy and studded with bits of blueberry throughout. And, there was a lot of it.

Spread also offers a variety of sandwiches and melts. Chester had the Bagelry Club, with roasted turkey, cheddar, apple slices, and bacon on a whole wheat bagel.  All of the ingredients were fresh—the apples were a particularly nice touch—but we both would have preferred it as a melt. Although this didn’t seem to be an option, maybe next time, we’ll ask.

Also, they serve La Colombe coffee. It’s self-serve, and unlimited. Bonus points.

The line was out the door during our week day lunch visit, so I can only imagine what it’s like at breakfast and on weekends. There were more than half a dozen staff members milling around behind the counter, but only one person taking orders (who was a bit on the slow side. She kind of stared down at her notepad for almost 30 seconds before asking if she could help us). It all seemed a bit disorganized. But, the staff members were all very friendly. There seemed to be quite a few regulars around, and the owners went out of their way to chat with them.

While the bagels are pretty good and offer a change of pace from what you find at Dunkin Donuts (whose bagels I actually happen to like) or Manhattan Bagel, they are pricey. One bagel will run you $2 and a half-dozen come in at $10. Then, you’ll need to add on an extra $3 or so for a spread. Sandwiches are about $8 or more.

Ultimately, I think Spread offers a great concept and product, I don’t know that the long wait and the price tag are justified. Maybe I’ll stop by every once in awhile, but I won’t necessarily go out of my way. They’re just bagels.

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