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Eastside Bagels Returns and the City Shakes Its Head

Adam L Brinklow | March 13, 2014 | Food & Drink Story Eat and Drink

Since we've been declared their future overlords, New Yorkers are paying proper tribute: First they send us their women, and now they send their bagles.

Actually, it's probably the New Yorkers who are getting the last laugh on this. Eastside Bagels, the pop-up bakery slinging "authentic" baked goods flown in from the Empire State (with a Facebook page from the future), returns to the Mission on Saturday. TKTKTKCOMMENTFROMTHEBAKERY. Last time they were here it resulted in two-hour lines in the rain and flabbergasted reactions from everyone else. Someone please tell us, what bagel in the world is worth all that? What's the secret?

Those with a head for resturant marketing tell us it's not about the bread. "People can buy a bagel anywhere, but what they really want is the attention," says David Mitroff of Oakland's Piedmont Avenue Consulting. "They want to go someplace special, and then they want to tweet a photo of themselves there so they can look special to everyone else." It's the same principle that results in five-hours lines for iPhones or concert tickets, just broken down to the bagel level. The long wait isn't a drawback--it's the main incentive.

On the other hand, Joan Simon of San Francisco's Full Plate Restaurant Consulting says that the bagels matter, but not for reasons you might think. " San Franciscans want authenticity. You can get authentic Asian and Mexican cuisine in San Francisco, but New York Jewish deli food is a whole different experience. Eating a bagel off a plane from New York means you know you're getting the definitive, authentic article." She might have a point. If we could fly fresh sushi in straight from Japan, don't we all know people who would line up for it?

A limited supply of bagels will be available at Dear Mom come Saturday, on a one-per-person basis. Will epic lines reappear? We might like to think not, but we can't help but notice that we're paying an awful lot of attention to this. "There's a Noah's Bagels on every corner, when was the last time you wrote about them?" says Mitroff. "Everyone in San Francisco wants to do something special. It feeds itself."


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