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New North Van bagel shop driven to follow in Starbucks' footsteps
"Hopefully in 10 years people will make pilgrimages here like they do to the first Starbucks in Seattle," says Rosemary Rocksalt's spokesman Tom Dvorak.
He's standing beside a 10,000-pound stainless steel oven that will fire up bagels for the shop on 17th and Lonsdale Avenue when it opens in early March.
In the next five years, the owners of Rosemary Rocksalt want to have 100 more stores in Canada, then move into the United States and overseas. North Vancouver will soon be home to its first.
"There is no solid bagel brand nationwide and we're looking to fill this gap," Dvorak says.
A bagel boom-and-bust occurred in the 1990s, he explains, when many bagel shops opened and shut down because of fierce price-cutting competition.
"It can be very cost effective, but all you get is just a big round piece of bread when you do it so cheaply," Dvorak says.
Rosemary Rocksalt's Montreal-style bagels tend to be "much denser, chewier and flavourful" than their competitions', he adds.
Customers can see the bagels cooked onsite by bakers in the big oven at the back of the store.
"It's the biggest oven on the North Shore and one of the biggest in Vancouver," Dvorak tells The Outlook on a tour.
Rosemary Rocksalt is owned by many of the same people as Siegel's Bagels in Kitsilano and Granville Island. Their most popular bagel has rosemary in the dough and rocksalt on top, giving the North Van shop its name.
A dozen bagels will be on the menu, including traditional sesame and poppy seed as well as a gluten-free option, along with different flavours of cream cheese.
"We're simplifying our menu with the best sellers," says Dvorak, explaining the difference between Siegel's Bagels and the new North Van location.
Now only time will tell if central Lonsdale will one day be famous for the original Rosemary Rocksalt.
The first 1,000 followers of Rosemary Rocksalt on Twitter will get a free bagel.