Montreal’s bagel scene is set to get a new player, as Ottawa bakery Kettleman’s seems to have secured a downtown location.
A post on LinkedIn from Kettleman’s owner Craig Buckley says that the company has locked in a location on the corner of de la Montagne and Canadiens-de-Montréal, right by the Bell Centre.
Kettleman’s is a primary go-to for Montreal-style bagels in Ottawa, but Buckley himself is originally from Montreal, having lived here until his 20s. He started the bakery on Bank Street in Ottawa in 1993 — much like its Montreal counterparts, it does hand-rolled bagels cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Buckley noted in early 2018 that he planned to open in Montreal (as well as Toronto), but this is the first official confirmation that the expansion is happening. The downtown outpost likely won’t be the only one — the announcement notes that more stores will open. Bagels will be produced on-site at the Montreal location.
While some might object to the idea of a bagel bakery from (gasp) Ottawa jumping into the Montreal market, that aggressive purism may be a little far-fetched. For one, Buckley is as much a Montrealer as the owners of icons like St-Viateur or Fairmount bagel.
Plus, Kettleman’s will not really be in competition with the two famed Mile End bakeries. There really isn’t much competition in the area where the first Montreal Kettleman’s will be — there’s La Fabrique de Bagel, which is really more like a food court option, and is owned by the same corporate monolith behind Presse Café, and new independent bakery Le Trou, although that’s over in Griffintown.
Kettleman’s also has a different approach, with a number of grab-and-go menu options like bagel sandwiches and flavoured cream cheese, a departure from the old bakeries’ approach of selling just bagels, with only do-it-yourself toppings like tiny cream cheese packages. (Some of the other Montreal bagelries, like St-Lo in Verdun, offer this too, but not Fairmount; St-Viateur has its café on Mont-Royal but it has relatively short hours.)
On top of that, Kettleman’s is, well, reputable — so if the quality is good, it seems like there’s plenty of room for more bagels alongside St-Viateur, Fairmount, and others who make them like Beaubien Bagel or MTL Bagel in Côte-St-Luc.
In any case, you’ll have to wait a while to see how Kettleman’s fares — its first location should open in 2020.