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Bagels without a hole? Iconic Montreal shop brings unholy idea to city

Click to play video: 'Is a bagel without a hole still a bagel?'
Is a bagel without a hole still a bagel?
WATCH: Montreal bagels are born of tradition that very few would dare mess with. Of course there's the occasional debate over what city is home to the best bagel, Montreal or New York? While we all know the answer to that one, an important debate is brewing and this one might be the most controversial of all. Is a bagel really a bagel if it has no hole? Global's Gloria Henriquez reports. – Jan 30, 2024

Montreal bagels are an institution that few dare to mess with.

There’s the occasional debate over which bagel is best,  Montreal’s or New York’s. But we all know the answer. (It’s Montreal).

Now, customers are taking a bite out of a new debate — and this one might be the most controversial of all.

Is a bagel really a bagel if it has no hole?

“It’s the same thing, hand-made same process that we do but… no hole!” said Saul Restrepo, the manager of St-Viateur Bagel.

The beloved institution is offering said bagel without a hole to customers for a limited time.

Is it a ‘bagelution?’ Or is the bagel simply having an existential crisis?

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“Why did they even have a hole in the first place?” mused customer Charlie Shea when faced with the question.

With only a few hours on the sales docket, the hole-less bagel has turned out to be something so controversial some won’t take one, even when offered as a free sample.

“I had a customer here before, I offered her one, she said ‘non, non merci’,” Restrepo said, laughing.

Click to play video: 'Nike honours Montreal with bagel-inspired sneaker'
Nike honours Montreal with bagel-inspired sneaker

An unholy bagel, so sinful some refused to comment on the record about the sacrilege of it all.

A French family visiting the shop told Global News they were not buying the new design. They would remain faithful to the original.

“Does it feel like a betrayal?” we asked.  Cécile Dahmani let out a big, resounding yes, paired with a belly laugh.

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But not everyone swore off the new bagel.

Some are willing to try the born-again-bread.

“It’s like a cinnamon roll and a bagel had a baby,” said Ghazal Behdad, who was visiting from the United States.

The reasoning behind having a bagel with no hole is that it provides more surface for you to spread your favourite schmear.

The whole thing is actually a campaign with Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

Shops in five cities across North-America are participating, and St-Viateur Bagels management said ‘why not?’

The Philadelphia Bagel Wholes will be available for two weeks only, because at the end of the day, even the experts agree on the debate.

“Listen, it’s not a bagel. It’s a bagel without a hole,” Restrepo said.

Restrepo is preaching to the choir of bagel purists.

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