St. Louis Sliced Bagel FAQ

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We have a diverse variety of food preferences in the Big Rush office. Clayton is more health focused, Megan is flavor-averse, and Jon just really likes chicken wings. We don’t agree on a lot of things food-related. But this week we came together in defense of the "St. Louis Sliced Bagel" that gained notoriety and undeserved scorn after an innocent and well-meaning tweet.

We hadn't seen an adequate defense of the St. Louis Sliced Bagel elsewhere on the internet yet, so we decided to write one ourselves, in the form of an FAQ. Hopefully this answers some things you might be wondering about this delicacy.

Q1: Wait, is this really a thing?

Yes. We've talked to a lot of native St. Louisians since this controversy broke out. Young people, and people in their 80s. People on both sides of the Mississippi. All of them had familiarity with the bread-sliced bagel.

Some people remember ordering a bagel that way as a child. Some people had just eaten them recently in a corporate setting. Everyone acknowledges that this is a thing.

Q2: But how common is it? Are all of your bagels like this?

No. All bagels are not like this here. The vast majority of bagels served in the city of St. Louis are sliced in half into a top and bottom section. That said, the practice is common enough that at least most natives that we've talked too are familiar with it.

Q3: How do you toast a bagel like this?

Generally, you do not. I've never seen it done. Bagels served bread-sliced are most often eaten unheated, in settings where toasters aren't available or wouldn't be practical.

Q4: Cream cheese/other spreads? How do those factor into this?

Great question! This is one of the great benefits of the bread-sliced bagel. You've got a couple of options here:

  • You can dip a bread-sliced bagel into the spread as if it were a chip, avoiding the need for knives entirely. This is particularly beneficial in a group situation, producing less dishes/disposable knife waste.

  • You can take a knife and spread your spread on each slice. Yes, this takes a little more work, but you get a better spread/bagel ratio.

Q5: So, like, you cut these by hand? This sounds like so much work.

Generally speaking, no. You certainly can cut a bagel like this at home, but more commonly its done at a bakery (St. Louis Bread Co/Panera Bread Co for instance) that has a bread slicer. Whole bagel in 1 end, 1 second later it comes out perfectly sliced.

Q6: Is there another food you could compare this to so I can wrap my mind around this insane concept?

Think about an apple. Sometimes you want to bite into a whole apple, and sometimes you want to cut your apple into slices. A bread-sliced bagel is like apple slices. They are easier to eat while driving, and are good for situations where you want to eat a bunch of different types of bagels.

This list is ongoing. If you have more questions, please tweet us at the account we've set up for this purpose, @stlbagel.

Jonathon Becker