Cleveland is having a moment right now. First, in June, the Cavaliers snapped a 46-year losing streak by defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. And now (though it remains to be seen whether the outcome will be good, bad, or disastrous) the city will host Donald Trump and the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena.
Still, it seems as if Cleveland might be feeling itself a little too much these days. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Cleveland is coming after one of New York’s most iconic products, claiming that the Midwestern city is now home to some of the best bagels in the world.
“Cleveland is really hot right now,” Debra Posner, a vice president of marketing at the local Jewish Community Center, told the Journal. “Why shouldn’t we have our own Cleveland bagel?”
At first glance, the assertion seems ridiculous—libelous at best, and outright blasphemous at worst. The bagel has been a source of pride for New York’s Jewish population since the late-1800s, and over the years the city’s water supply has taken on an almost mythical importance when it comes to baking the perfect bread products.
But according to the Journal, Cleveland Bagel Co., of all companies, is now changing the game. And while few would bet against LeBron James and the Cavs when they take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Cleveland has a chip on its shoulder when it comes to bagels and is gunning for the five boroughs.
The topic of water, in particular, is a point of contention. Though the Cuyahoga River and nearby Lake Erie have both been filled with pollutants for years, experts say water actually plays a less important role in bagel-making than we originally thought.
“New York got away with that for a long time—but now that’s over,” Dan Herbst, one of the owners of Cleveland Bagel Co., explained, adding that New York’s elite water was a “magical notion.” “I’ll say we have Lake Erie water.”
Cleveland Bagel Co. rolls some 3,600 bagels each week and is even converting chefs who once called New York City home into believers.
“My mind was blown,” Jonathan Sawyer, a James Beard Award-winning chef, told the Journal. “There are many shops that claim to be phenomenal [in New York] that aren’t even playing the same game as Cleveland Bagels.”
[via Wall Street Journal]