We love bagels from Myer’s! We’ve been taking our kids there for a very long time. “Since they were both in diapers!”, Lloyd remarked pointing at our high schooler and middle schooler, who both blushed at the mention of diapers. Lloyd Squiers is the friendly, long-working, easy-going, Canadiens-loving, gregarious owner who churns out thousands of hand-rolled, fresh from the wood-fired oven, Montreal-style bagels every day.
Myer’s Bagel Bakery is down a long, dirt driveway. The small, humble entry-way is sandwiched between a used book and record shop and a hip, second-hand furniture store. Lloyd and his bagels have been in this space for as long as we can remember. When you walk through the door you are just a jump-over-the counter away from a massive wood-burning oven.
To one side of the oven is a long table where a slab of dough the size of a baby elephant rests, and next to that a vat of boiling water. On the other side a long metal chute where the bagels are flung, hot from the fire. Long planks (eight or ten feet) with blackened, narrow ends wait by the oven. Lloyd uses the planks to send the bagels, lined up on the narrow board, into the oven and then to retrieve them when done.
When the kids were little Lloyd would give them long ropes of bagel dough to play with and roll at the table while we ate. (In the summer they’d take the dough, grimy from an hour in their hands and place the roughly formed rings on our driveway to bake in the sun. The seagulls loved that!) On this day instead of dough, while eating at the table, one of the blackened planks from the oven appeared over our shoulders, deftly maneuvered by playful Lloyd between the coffee pots and napkin holders on the counter, delivering extra bagels to us hot from the oven!
The cafe is separately owned, and has changed ownership over the years. We remember a time when there was no cafe at all. But Lloyd was still there in the darkened space, rolling and baking bagels to distribute to grocery stores. We couldn’t sit down with a toasted bagel and crossword puzzle on those days, but we did get to take home big bags of still-hot bagels!
Today a cafe once again fills the space. In addition to bagel sandwiches, there are delicious bakery items and the offerings are always changing. On this visit Logan had a sweet, flaky homemade “Pop-Tart”, with raspberry filling. I had something new: a Bouchon. Lloyd told me the name means “cork” in French. This little delicacy did look like a Champagne cork, with a puffy top over a slender stem. It was muffin-like but more dense, very moist, and with a thick layer of confectioner’s sugar over the entire surface. It was loaded with lavender flavor, and the aroma when I opened the bag made me swoon. It was incredible, sublime. And I am very angry at myself: I devoured that beautiful pastry before remembering to snap a picture of it.
Speaking of incredible and sublime, back to the bagels! When the shaped bagel doughs go in for a boil, they get an extra sweetness and flavor from honey in the water. The honey also makes the surface tacky, and then the toppings take hold – poppy seeds, sesame seeds or spices. Which brings me to our favorite bagel at Myer’s: the famous Montreal Spice.
Spicy and savory, so good when toasted and slathered with cream cheese. Plain cream cheese works just fine, but there is also Montreal Spice cream cheese if you want to double down. I recently tried Sriracha cream cheese with a Montreal Spicy and the extra bite from the hot sauce was very good too!
The most difficult thing to control when visiting Myer’s is our appetite. We always get there in the morning, having eaten nothing. These bagels are not the monstrous, bready, bland type found in most bagel bakeries – they are smaller, chewier, much tastier. Because they are not the size of a baby’s head, it becomes very easy to convince ourselves that we need two. And when they are gone then we go back up for two more. But greedily downing loads of Lloyd’s bagels is a problem I am happy to have. Sweetening the deal even further is that there is always plenty of hot coffee to consume along with the bagels, and a crossword to noodle over together.
Over the last 15+ years that we have been going to Myer’s the neighborhood around it has changed quite a bit. Pine Street was once rather forgettable, but in recent years has seen the birth of a growing arts community. It now boasts galleries, an annual Art Hop, Citizen Cider’s brewery, Lake Champlain Chocolate’s chocolate factory, and foodie-frequented eateries. Though the neighborhood has changed a lot, Myer’s has stayed the same and yet fits in just as easily now as it did then. It is so nice to go there and experience the same warm and friendly Lloyd, the cozy space, and of course the best bagels anywhere!
When in Burlington, VT visit Myer’s Bagels at 377 Pine Street, and anytime here at their website: MyersBagels.com.