ST. LOUIS – National Bagel Day has arrived! It’s a delicacy that St. Louis loves, and for some, there’s a signature way to enjoy it.

St. Louis was ranked the ninth-best city for bagel lovers in a study published earlier this month by Lawn Love. The research team analyzed 200 U.S. cities based on bagel trends, and the findings largely favored the East Coast.

Bagels come in all sorts of sizes and flavors. Though in St. Louis, it’s not necessarily what kind of bagel you eat that sparks attention, rather how you eat it.

In March 2019, legend has it that Alek Krautmann brought in an order of Panera bagels for his co-workers. He introduced many “to the St Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced,” and notes “It was a hit!”

Krautmann shared about his experience on Twitter, not only introducing his co-workers to the “St. Louis secret,” but tens of thousands in the Twitter-verse. He was met with some mixed reactions over his photo that showed several bagels sliced like a loaf of bread. Among the responses:

“Ah the authentic bagel experience of PANERA bagels sliced like bread.”

“wait … you can actually order it this way???”

“He cut the bagel in the least efficient way possible!”

“it’s like a crime scene”

“This isn’t a hit. This is “Hey let me find the worst and cheapest way to feed 25 people with 12 bagels!”

Panera, which started locally as the St. Louis Bread Company, quickly rose to Alek’s defense and replied, “Hey Alek, next time bagels are on us, sliced however you’d like.”

The origins of when sliced bagels became a St. Louis phenomenon are a bit unclear, but Panera had offered the option for quite some time prior to the viral social media discussions. According to a Panera blog post, customers are encouraged to take this challenge: “Slice [a bagel] into thin layers and toasted, a single bagel becomes a wealth of dip-able, snack-able bagel chips. Pairs well with soup or dipped in cream cheese, peanut butter or hummus.”

Lawn Love’s research team also acknowledge the trend, calling the sliced bagels more of a “method of preparation” rather than secret. The study also found that people usually enjoy bagels based on their convenience, versatility and quality.

In the St. Louis area, you can try some of these stops (and possibly even ask for a St. Louis-style bagel) on National Bagel Day:

  • St. Louis Bread Company (Panera)
  • Bridge Bread
  • Companion Baking
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels
  • Kohn’s Kosher
  • Protzel’s Delicatessen
  • The Great American Bagel Bakery