Some breakfast pastries are based on age-old recipes passed down through generations. Some seem like they were created expressly to look good on Instagram.
Like that “rainbow bagel.”
Even though it went viral nearly a year ago, it’s apparently still a thing.
The multicolor baked good has been made by The Bagel Store in Brooklyn since the 1990s, but it wasn’t until early 2016 that it found international fame — and became “the bagel that broke the internet” — thanks to a viral Business Insider “making of” video.
The popularity carried the idea across state lines, and within a month, the Philadelphia shops owned by the Wagner family (South Street Philly Bagels and Chestnut Street Philly Bagels) started offering their own version. Called a “tye-dye” bagel so as to not conflict with the original, the photogenic food pretty much took over these cafes’ social feeds throughout spring 2016.
Been there, done that, so over? Nope. A year later, the edible phenom’s popularity hasn’t disappeared.
A glance at the geo-tagged Instagram pics for both of the Philly Bagels stores, as well as their four-month old sibling on 20th and Fitzwater, shows the rainbow style dominating — it takes up between 75 and 90 percent of the feed. And at all three stores, the kaleidoscopic snack sells out daily.
“Today we sold out by 9 a.m., but you can usually get them if you show up before noon,” said a worker at the Chestnut Street location, a recommendation with which staff at the other two outposts agreed.
Those seeking out the photogenic meal appear to be aware of this. On Thursday morning, Chestnut Hill Uber driver “Andrew” discussed how he’s been plotting a visit to obtain one with his girlfriend. They heard about the spot in NYC, but “don’t like New York,” so they’ve been trying to hit up one of the Philly shops — and haven’t been early enough yet.
Part of that’s because only around a dozen or two are baked each day, nothing compared to the hundreds of other, more traditional rounds sold by the three shops.
“It’s a lot of effort” to make the tie-dye bagels, confirmed the manager at South Street Philly Bagels, who noted that each color has to be dyed separately and then twisted together. “A lot of kids order them.”
Kids especially like the version that’s listed on the menu: “Rainbow Brite,” which sees the vibrant base topped with “birthday cake cream cheese.” If you’re wondering what that is, it has real cake batter in it, per the staff, and tastes like spreadable cheesecake (per a Billy Penn taste test). The bagel itself tastes like a plain, so there’s a sweet-savory vibe going on.
Interested? Just think, if you don’t end up loving it, you can do what we did: After snapping a cool pic for Insta, just feed it to your dog. (But beware the consequences…)