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The Big Jewcy: Joel Tietolman, Mile End Bagels

A few months back, I profiled Noah Bernamoff of Mile End Delicatessen.  Since that time, the little Canadian smoked meat shop that could has officially become my favorite place to eat in all of Brooklyn, but it comes with a dark side: I’ve uncovered what I believe is a somewhat sinister, totally delicious plot to get New Yorkers addicted to Montreal style bagels. While Mr. Bernamoff is the man who slices the meat, this somewhat Machiavellian scheme was cooked up (or oven baked) by one of Bernamoff’s partners in Mile End, 27-year-old mensch Joel Tietolman. Prior to being the guy who started a bagel craze, Tietolman worked professionally to bring Israeli and Palestinian activists together for dialogue, and also found time to get his Masters in Philosophy, and 2 law degrees.  As he puts it: ” I’m possibly the most over-educated bagel man in history.”

Can we confirm that you are the guy behind the Montreal bagel craze that is sweeping Brooklyn?

I can’t take all the credit, without my long time buddy Noah’s deli (Mile End), we would have never known that there was such a demand for Montreal Bagels this far away.  I was down here helping Noah and his wife open Mile End and witnessed how many people were willing to pay 30$/dozen for bagels over a day old.  Scary thing was there was barely any profit margin on the bagels at those prices.  What I will take credit for is finding a way to get them down here faster, fresher, and cheaper, making them accessible for anyone who wanted. So is there some secret plan to get New Yorkers hooked on Montreal bagels?

No secret plans or conspiracies.  I’m not against the NY Bagel, but in a city where you can drink wine or eat a cheese from any tiny corner of the world, why not have a choice of world class bagels?  Montreal Bagels are made by hand and baked in wood burning ovens,  the same way NY bagels were made 100 years ago, all we are really doing is bringing old-fashioned bagels back to a great city that was too busy to keep making them the old way. What’s the process for getting the bagels from Montreal to New York? A typical Friday would start with me actually getting myself to Montreal, I have been finishing up law school in Ottawa. Our order going in around noon, and Saint-Viateur Bagels will have them baked, cooled, and bagged ready for us(our other business partner Jon Leitner usually with me) to pick them up around midnight, and soon after we find ourselves at US customs, where we proudly declare that we are bringing you lovely new yorkers over a thousand fresh bagels.  By about 4 am we are hitting up the gas station in Saratoga, some cliff bars and coffee, and on to Brooklyn we go.  We are at Mile End Deli by 8 am, and usually by the time they open at 10 am we are most likely passed out at Noah’s apartment. (might sneak  by the deli for a smoked meat when we wake up)

Does Noah pay you in brisket?

You know, thats not a bad idea, but with that much of his tasty meat i might never leave the house.  In all seriousness Mile End is my partner in Mile End Montreal Bagel, and I am also a small partner in Mile End.  This was all originally done to try and help Noah out, and keep New Yorkers with a fresh supply of the greatest bagels on earth. What is on your perfect bagel?

I’m a sucker for a classic beauty’s special with cream cheese, lox, tomato, and onion.  I also love some good cheddar.  Almost anything goes well with a Montreal bagel hot out of the toaster.

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