Schmear campaign: New Yorkers lambaste bread-sliced bagel

DAVID R. MARTIN and MARY ESCH

NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers have strict rules when it comes to their iconic foods, and one of them, apparently, is you never slice a bagel like a tiny loaf of bread.

A Midwestern native is getting an earful from New Yorkers and social media since he tweeted a photo of vertically sliced Panera bagels on Monday and called it "the St. Louis Secret."

Claiming his co-workers in Washington, D.C. were delighted, Alek Krautmann pointed out the tiny slices create more surface area for a schmear of cream cheese. And he said any leftover slices make nice bagel chips with hummus.

Twitter erupted with #bagelgate. "St Louis, fuhgeddaboudit," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer , a New York Democrat.

New York City's chief of detectives Dermot Shea thanked posters for reporting "this crime." He wrote it would never happen in New York. Eliza Orlins, a city public defender, tweeted "I am a lifelong New Yorker and this hurts my soul."

Other tweeters posted photos of a smashed-up cake, milk-drowned cookies and other culinary abominations, calling them "St. Louis style."

"I could see the advantage if you want to sample different spreads and different types of bagels, like at a party or something," Philip Romanzi, owner of Bagel Hole in Brooklyn, said on Thursday. "But to walk down the street with a bagel that's cut up like that seems pretty ridiculous."

Romanzi said there's only one "right" way to slice a bagel: Find the soft spot on the side and cut it lengthwise. If someone asked him to slice his world-famous bagels like a loaf of bread, he'd tell them to "go down the block."

But not everyone was critical. The National Weather Service in St. Louis tweeted a photo of a plate of bagels and tweeted, "It's been a busy week with flooding, hail and tornadoes, but we always have time for bread-sliced bagels."

Krautmann didn't return messages seeking comment through Twitter, but he was getting support from the place he bought the bagels. Panera said his bagels "are on us" next time and they'll be sliced however he'd like.

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Mary Esch reported from Albany, N.Y.

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This story corrects the spelling of Alek Krautmann's name.