Just days after encountering rainbow cream cheese at the East Village’s newest bagel shop, we’ve discovered yet another way to taste the rainbow. It seems that Bagel Boss, near Stuyvesant Town, has started selling rainbow bagels, and they’re proving to be a veritable pot of gold. We had to wonder: is the original inventor of the rainbow bagel feeling blue, or maybe even seeing red, about this?
By now you know that The Bagel Store, in Williamsburg, started the oh-so-Instagramable rainbow bagel trend and experienced such high demand that it had to shut down for a bit (don’t worry, they’ve opened again). The psychedelic carb swirls gained such a following that the girls from Broad City introduced them to Stephen Colbert.
So it’s understandable that other bagel stores would want to get in on that tie-dyed action. A couple of weeks ago, Bagel Boss, on First Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets, started selling its very own rainbow bagels, and according to Fredy García, the store’s manager, the customers can’t get enough. “They’ve been hot,” he said. “We sell almost all of them every day.”
Apparently, in-house bakers make about 2,000 a day in order to keep up with demand. “We heard there was a store in Brooklyn that were selling them, but that they couldn’t handle it,” García said of The Bagel Store’s overwhelming lines for their brightly hued creations.
García said Bagel Boss’s bakers developed the recipe themselves, although it really wasn’t as much a question of finesse as it was of basic physical labor. “It’s a lot of work, though– sometimes [the bakers] make like eight different-colored doughs, but in the end it looks beautiful,” he said, referring to the separated doughs that are dyed with food coloring and then formed together into rings.
Over at The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, Francine LaBarbara didn’t seem to mind the copycats too much, although she’s not exactly envisioning a rainbow coalition here. “What are you going to do. Probably every other bagel store in the world has started doing rainbow bagels,” she said, but then added, “I would prefer to have a real bag than a fake Chanel. I feel like, if you buy a copy and not the original, you know it’s a copy.”
The rainbow bagels that Brooklyn native Scot Rossillo created at The Bagel Store are “Scot’s art,” LaBarbara said, and “people still come into the store all the time asking for the original.”
And for LaBarbara, the original remains the best. “I don’t think [other rainbow bagels] compare at all. I know they don’t,” she said.
Regardless, García said the Bagel Boss’s candy-colored creations were very well received. “We got everyone hooked on it, so now we have to keep doing it,” he laughed.