Amongst my circle of friends, we lovingly refer to the Rosemary Rocksalt bagels at Siegel’s as “crack.” They are deliciously addictive, the earthy rosemary embedded in a chewy bagel, studded with rock salt that pings on your tongue like pop rocks. I grab one, usually toasted and smeared with Siegel’s house-made salmon cream cheese, pretty much every time I’m in the Granville Island Market.
Well, now there’s a new (and possibly more convenient, depending on where you live), location to indulge your bagel addiction. Rosemary Rocksalt is the brain-baby of the Seigel family, who have been supplying Vancouverites with authentic Montreal deli items for the past 20 years, and Ken Sim, who owns the Nurse Next Door franchise. These two businesses are combining their areas of expertise to create a new franchise of bagel shops. The first Rosemary Rocksalt opened its doors on Lonsdale in North Vancouver in the fall of 2012, and now a second location on Main at Broadway is dishing out the bagel love.
They are the first to occupy the new space at 2515 Main St. This building was destroyed by a massive fire in 2009, displacing Lugz Coffee and Slickety Jim’s Chat ‘n’ Chew. The new space is bight and airy, with high, high ceilings and tons of windows, providing natural light. To accent the openness of the space, the walls are painted white, and there are orange accents in the lampshades and chairs. The prep station is completely open, allowing you to see how high they are piling your Montreal Smoked meat before it lands in front of you. The back wall is painted with black chalkboard paint, and sports a funky flow chart-mural that may help you to decide what you should order.
The owners have made a deliberate choice not to complicate the menu. Instead, they have chosen to keep it simple, but make sure that everything on it is simply delicious.
You can order bagels, of course, to eat right away, or by the dozen to take home with you. They have over a dozen different variations, but the most popular are poppy seed, sesame and, of course, the Rosemary Rocksalt. They even have an “almost gluten-free” bagel. All bagels are prepped at the Sieigel’s main kitchen, then baked up fresh in the cafe’s on-site bagel oven. Every week, they get massive tubs of cream cheese shipped in from Winnipeg. The cream cheese comes to them plain, and then they create their own flavour combinations: vegetable, salmon or, their latest, vanilla-cranberry. You can get other toppings on your bagel, too: PB & J or cheese. If you’re daring, try some fun flavour combos, like peanut butter and jalapeños.
Rosemary Rocksalt is open from early until late, 365 days a year, so you can get breakfast, lunch or snacks. Heartier breakfast fare includes the Morning Bagel (smoked meat, egg and cheese), the Big Breakfast Bagel (smoked meat, egg, cheese, cream cheese and vegetables) or a vegetarian version with just egg, tomato and cheddar, all atop your favourite flavour of bagel.
Authentic smoked meat is flown in from Montreal every week. This is the real deal, and it’s served piled high for lunch in a bagel sandwich with mustard (of course). They also have turkey breast roasted in-house and sliced paper-thin. You can combine the two in a Bagel Club. And of course, there’s the ever-traditional bagel-lox (the smoked salmon comes from the Valley). There’s even a vegetarian sandwich with veggies and cream cheese.
I would be remiss if I didn’t
mention rave about their Rugelach. Their Chocolate-Walnut Rugolach was listed as one ofVancouver Magazine’s 101 Best Things to Eat and Drink in Vancouver, and they so deserve the honour! Try one alongside a cup of their Parallel 49 Coffee.
Mt. Pleasant is such a hip and happening neighbourhood right now. Some of the greatest eats in the city grace the strip on Main between 8th and 30th. Lots of young professionals and families are calling this neighbourhood home, and Rosemary Rocksalt feels like the perfect addition.
Address: 2515 Main Street, Vancouver
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., 365 days a year