Cleveland Bagel Co. co-owners Geoff Hardman and Dan Herbst are more than just bakers — they are inventors. In 2013, the duo spent countless hours creating a Cleveland-style bagel — a mashup between those you’d find in New York and Montreal. The result is an Old World-style bagel with a crusty ring and a chewy interior.
As seen in: Cleveland Scene, Photo by Frank J. Lanza
As a warehouse worker, Dan Herbst was no stranger to burning the midnight oil; then, a layoff sidelined him from his routine. That’s when he joked to his longtime friend Geoff Hardman that, “Maybe I’ll just start making bagels.” Hardman, who was constantly searching in vain for locally sourced bagels for business meetings, stopped in his tracks. A few cocktails later, the wheels were set in motion for Cleveland Bagel Co., despite a decided lack of culinary experience between the pair.
As seen in: Freshwater Cleveland, Photo by Bob Perkoski
Steadfast Clevelanders have never been subtle about declaring their allegiance for their hometown. For years, prominent t-shirt company BCTZ has commanded us to “Defend Cleveland,” while screen printing institution Daffy Dan has been reminding us that “You’ve Got to be Tough.” And don’t get us started on the never-ending stream of sports-themed apparel.
But even the most nearsighted among us can see that things are different these days. There is a tidal wave of fresh businesses that flaunt the city through an assortment of Cleveland-themed apparel and products or by integrating the city name right into their company’s branding.
As seen in: Edible Cleveland, Photo by Laura Watilo Blake
When one door closes, the oven door opens. At least that was the case for Dan “Bagelman” Herbst last spring when he found himself laid off and finally with enough spare time to fulfill his dream of bringing the perfect bagel to Cleveland.
Drawing inspiration from time spent in the center of the bagel universe (aka New York City), Herbst has developed a proprietary recipe that blends both Montreal– and New York-style methods. The Montreal style, usually made with malt and sugar, but no salt, is always baked in a wood-fired oven. You’ll notice bagels made in this fashion look very rustic and have a bigger hole than the New York-style bagel, which is puffier, moister, and less sweet. Try to ask Herbst more about how exactly he’s combined the two styles and you’ll be met with polite silence. He’s serious about protecting his secret recipe.
As seen in: Cleveland Scene
It’s one of our country’s most popular breakfast foods, yet our fine city has been sorely lacking in quality bagels. Luckily, friends and business partners Dan Herbst and Geoff Hardman are seeking to change that with the launch of Cleveland Bagel Co. Founding their company in 2013, the pair was seeking to fill what they perceived as a bagel-shaped hole in the Cleveland food market. They wanted to make something similar to the real-deal bagels they had experienced in other cities, not merely the “bagel-shaped bread” Herbst says Clevelanders have been stuck with for quite some time now.