The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Belmont raises a toast to bagel culture

Shiori Chen
Customers bustle in and out of Doc’s Bagels, a local bagel shop in Belmont, Calif., on a Sunday afternoon. “We get a lot of customers on Friday morning and on weekends,” said Sonia Yoon, the managing director of the shop.

Bustling bagel stores and a new bagel club at Carlmont High School all show the rising popularity of bagels in the Bay Area. This doughnut-shaped bread brings together students and local residents alike.

Bagels have been around in America since the late 1800s thanks to Jewish immigrants and have only gained prominence since then.

In the Bay Area, new bagel shops, such as Boichik Bagels and Poppy Bagels, have opened up in recent years. Foodies congregate at these places, excited at the prospect of authentic, New York-style bagels.

This cultural phenomenon can also be found in the Belmont community. Bagel popularity has seemingly increased, and in the wake of it, a hidden yet profound bond weaves between the citizens of Belmont.

Families and workers on their lunch break flock to Doc’s Bagels, Belmont’s local bagel shop, for delicious bagels made from scratch. They are welcomed by a neon “open” sign that shines above the shop’s entry.

“When you buy a bagel from Costco or Safeway, you can tell the difference between their bagels and ours. We make ours the traditional way: we put them in water and then bake them in a brick oven. I don’t think Costco or Safeway makes bagels the traditional way,” said Sonia Yoon, the managing partner of local bagel shop Doc’s.

Unlike other bagel shops that steam bagels, Doc’s bakes them, giving their bagels a distinct crispy exterior and soft inside, according to Yoon.

In addition to their bagel quality, the store’s location is also a leading factor in Docs’ steadily growing demand.

“Doc’s is a walking distance from schools, which is why kids can come in. Close proximity is important; if Doc’s was an hour away, commerce wouldn’t be as good,” Yoon said.

Frequent customers at Doc’s are high school students from Carlmont. Even at the high school, bagels continue to connect individuals.

Bagel Club, a social and food club at Carlmont, was created this year and strives to create an all-inclusive environment for anyone who wants to join.

“It’s just bagels. They are a wonderful way for students to come together and meet people they wouldn’t have met originally,” said Elizabeth Dubinskiy, a Carlmont senior and president of Bagel Club.

Despite being a relatively new club, the Bagel Club has amassed a significant number of meeting attendees. According to Dubinskiy, around 75 students go to each meeting to get their hands on the free bagels and toppings the club provides.

The club at Carlmont High School and the sister club at Sequoia High School receive unsold bagels from House of Bagels, a bagel store in San Carlos that aspires to nourish the culture of nearby school communities.

“It’s wonderful that House of Bagels donates to our community. I really admire how they contribute to a positive impact,” Dubinskiy said.

Bagel Club is only one of the many sources of connection brought on by the ring-shaped bread at Carlmont.

The Carlmont student store in the center of the school campus offers toasted bagels with an assortment of spreads. However, these are only sold after school ends, whereas all the other snacks the student store offers are also available during lunch.

“The student store is a place that helps the community for students and their friends to get together and just hang out while having a little snack on the side,” said Gabriele Kim, a parent volunteer at the student store for three years.

Pullquote Photo

Bagels are fun-shaped. They are nicer to look at than just a slice of toast.

— Gabriele Kim

Even though the student store only sells bagels after school, Carlmont athletes participating in after-school sports can bond over a more filling bite of food before heading to practice without heading down to the Carlmont Village Shopping Center.

“Their popularity depends, I think. On cooler days or when many students have after-school sports, we sell more bagels,” Kim said.

Given their history and centuries-long influence on the American food scene, it is likely that bagels will retain their popularity. Foods that go out of favor fast tend to be exceptionally interesting or trends, but it is fair to say that the beloved bread is here to stay.

If bagel culture continues to spread and new bagel stores continue to open, the future may reconsider bagels as we know them now. But when it comes down to defining a bagel, it is simply a doughnut-shaped piece of bread that brings people together.

“A bagel is something that can’t go wrong. Unless it’s the stalest bagel, anyone will love it – it’s so versatile. You can put anything on there,” Dubinskiy said.

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About the Contributor
Shiori Chen
Shiori Chen, Staff Writer
Shiori Chen (Class of 2026) is a sophomore and a writer in the media arts program. She is interested in writing about news and cultural affairs. She enjoys making charcoal drawings, playing the saxophone, and running her club at Carlmont, Art Showcase Club. You can find her always either eating good food or watching Studio Ghibli films.  

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  • G

    GeffOct 25, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    What an excellent article to read about Bagels. It seems that the writer is very passionate about Bagels. Cinnamon butter are my favorite ones. Thumbs up.
    Mr. G