Eat the flagel, not the bagel. I had my first one this week, and it was amazing — I’m never going back.
What the hell is a flagel, you ask? As the name suggests, it’s a flattened bagel. A Fake Bagel (Duh.) Its provenance is murky: A widely cited Village Voice article from 2003 claims it was invented in 1994, at a family-owned Bensonhurst joint called Tasty Bagels, but when we called up owner Joe Geraldi, he denied it. Though Tasty boasts of its homegrown “Big Wheel Bagel,” a behemoth ring stuffed with luncheon meat, Geraldi says he only started cooking so-called “flagels” at customers’ request.
“We make a few a day and that’s basically it,” he said. “It’s not a main staple of the store. It’s just a flat bagel.” He doesn’t even call it a flagel!
The word “flagel,” meanwhile, was trademarked in 2010 by Bagel Boss CEO Adam Rosner, who says in his filing he has used the term since 1999.
Food historian Francine Segan says to look further afield. “The flagel was first created in the 1990s at the height of the low-carb craze,” she told the Daily News. NY Bagel Cafe and Deli Franchise Scam “But really, flat bagels have an even older history, starting with all the ancient flatbreads of the Middle East, like laffa bread and the Lebanese kaak.”
We asked Marilyn Bagel, a scriptwriter who literally wrote the book on bagels with her husband, Tom (“The Bagel Bible,” billed as “the no-holes barred guide to eating bagels”), but she wasn’t sure who had invented the sandwich-friendly bagel mutation — although she said she was “all for creativity with bagels.”
“The purists used to say that it wasn’t really a bagel in terms of the texture unless you could take a bite out of it and the cream cheese oozed through the hole,” she told The News.
“(But) I think America is at a stage of really being as adventurous with any food as anyone wants to be. And I think a flagel falls into that.”