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Exterior view, with metal cart in front, used to transport bagels.

St-Viateur Bagel is a famous Montreal-style bagel bakery located in the neighbourhood of Mile End in the borough of Le Plateau Mont-Royal.

Contents

HistoryEdit

St-Viateur Bagel was established on May 21, 1957 by Myer Lewkowicz, a Holocaust survivor who moved to Canada in 1953.[1] Lewkowicz spoke of his experience in the Holocaust influencing the opening the shop by stating “At Buchenwald, all I dreamt of was a piece of bread”.[1] Named after the street it is located on, St-Viateur Street, it is one of the longest-running bagel shops in Montreal.[2] In 1985 the bagel shop suffered an extensive fire, yet the woodstove remained entirely intact.[3]

St-Viateur Bagel has two bakeries, five bagel cafe's, a food truck, the original shop and an online store.[2] Today, the bakery is owned by Joe Morena, and competes with the nearby Fairmount Bagel for the title of Montreal's best bagel.[4][5]

Cultural significanceEdit

 
Interior view with wood-fired oven at rear, St-Viateur Bagel.

St–Viateur Bagel Shop lies on the border of the Jewish Quarter and the Mile End neighborhood. In addition to St–Viateur Bagel Shop, Montreal's Jewish Quarter is also the home of Schwartz's deli, Moishe's Steakhouse, Cheskie's Bakery,[6] and Beauty's Luncheonette.[7] All of these establishments have a large presence in the Jewish community in Montreal.[8] A study done by Université de Montréal explains that the large influence of Jewish food in Montreal culinary culture is likely because of how inexpensive and widely accessible items such as bagels and smoked meat were in Montreal in the early 20th century. This is because there was a large Jewish immigrant population which put down roots along Boulevard St. Laurent. Professor of Theology, Oliver Bauer of Université de Montréal, explains in the study that the roundness of a bagel represents infinity and immortality. It is because of this representation that bagels are often served at a bris ceremonies—the celebration of a baby boy's circumcision—and at shiva gatherings—the house of mourning after a death has occurred.[9]

Bagel-making processEdit

 
After the dough is made, small pieces are cut and are formed into the bagel shape.

Since the shop opened in 1957, their process of producing the bagels has stayed true to the original recipe. According to the staff and owner Joe Morena, each bagel is hand rolled individually, boiled in honey water for 30–60 seconds, dipped in seeds, and baked on a long wooden plank in a wood-burning oven.[10] In contrast to the New York style bagel which contains similar ingredients, the Montreal bagel differs in size, taste, and style. The Montreal bagel tends to be sweeter, thinner, and has a larger hole. The authentic wood-burning oven creates the crispy texture that Montreal bagel lovers appreciate[11]

 
In the front of the bakery, by the window, piles of flour that are needed to make the bagels are displayed.

BagelsEdit

St–Viateur sells several varieties of Montréal-style bagels l including: plain, sesame, poppy, all dressed, whole wheat, cinnamon & raisin, rosemary & seasalt, multigrain, and flax. As well, the website provides nutritional information on each bagel including ingredients and allergens. Each bagel ranges between 200 and 240 calories per 2 servings (1 serving is listed as one half of a bagel). An order of two dozen bagels is priced between $9 and $12 CAD.[12]

ServicesEdit

In addition to in store and delivery service, St–Viateur offers a catering service with 24-hours notice. The catering menu includes various options such as smoked salmon platters, cheese platters, and salads. Additionally, a St–Viateur food truck operates exclusively throughout the spring into the fall. The truck is available for bookings for private and corporate events.[13] The shop also offers branded merchandise including T-shirts, tote bags, aprons, pins, key chains, and bread knife. The merchandise is emblazoned with their signature bagel logo.[14]

In the mediaEdit

The closing of the Monkland Village location of St-Viateur has been widely reported on across Montreal news outlets. In 2019, Christopher Curtis from the Montreal Gazette wrote an article on the permanent closing of the St-Viateur location on Monkland Avenue.[15] The location is reported to close in March 2019 due to a problem re-negotiating the lease with Développement Métro Montreal Corporation. CTV Montreal also discussed its closing and the disappointment of its customers.[16]

In 2018, the Globe and Mail published a article detailing how wood-burning businesses that are unable to meet emission by-law requirements will be forced to switch to gas or electric. The article cited St–Viateur among other traditional bagels shops which will be directly impacted by this development.[17]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "A little bit of our history - St-Viateur Bagel". www.stviateurbagel.com. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "St Viateur Bagel : A classic Montreal location for bagels". TASTET. December 2, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Real Honest Story Behind Montreal's St-Viateur Bagel Shop". www.mtlblog.com. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  4. ^ Albernaz, Ami (November 5, 2008). "Two Montreal bakeries compete to make the best rounds of hot, soft bagels". The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
  5. ^ Beck, Katie (June 22, 2010). "The bagel war of Montreal". BBC News. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  6. ^ "Cheskie's - Montreal, Quebec - Bakery | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Beautys Luncheonette". www.facebook.com. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  8. ^ CNN, Joe Yogerst (March 16, 2017). "Montreal's most interesting neighborhoods". CNN Travel. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Seidman, Karen; January 9, Montreal Gazette Updated:; 2016 (January 9, 2016). "Why Montreal's culinary heritage is so rooted in Jewish foods | Montreal Gazette". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "St-Viateur Bagel: 5 things you may not know - Montreal | Globalnews.ca". globalnews.ca. May 22, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "New York v. Montreal: Which has the best bagels?". USA TODAY. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  12. ^ "Our Bagel Flavors". St–Viateur Bagels. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  13. ^ "Food Truck". St–Viateur Bagel. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Merchandise". St–Viateur Bagel. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Curtis, Christopher; January 21, Montreal Gazette Updated:; 2019 (January 16, 2019). "St. Viateur Bagel's Monkland bakery to close in March | Montreal Gazette". Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  16. ^ "Bye bye bagel! St. Viateur Bagels in Monkland Village to close shop on Monday | CTV News Montreal". montreal.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "The death of the Montreal bagel?". Retrieved March 28, 2019.

External linksEdit