Food in New York City is known for being a little out there. It’s not a big surprise though - there are tens of thousands of places to eat at spread throughout the five boroughs. Making your restaurant, bodega, pizzeria, bakery, or cafe stand out is the only way you’ll survive with so much competition around you.
Enter the neighborhood of Williamsburg. Located in the northern part of Brooklyn, this neighborhood brought the term “hipster” to modern society. If there’s a trendy food, cool haircut, or unique way to dress, it probably came from here. Artists flock to Williamsburg for a number of reasons, but affordable rent definitely isn’t one of them.
The growing popularity of Instagram has caused a change in how food is made and marketed. Have something new you want to tell? You better make sure you have a social media presence. Food doesn’t have to just taste good, it needs to look good. I mean, I know I waited in line for more than an hour to get lackluster and overpriced cookie dough last winter, so the trend is working. The rainbow bagel has taken this marketing idea and struck it big time. Just a simple search of #rainbowbagel on Instagram will yield you thousands of pictures of these multicolored bagels. You can even order them for shipping nationwide! The taste is an afterthought though, and I rarely hear anyone talk about how flavorful they actually are.
I know, I’m late to this trend. The Rainbow Bagel was first launched by Bagel Artist Scot Rossillo back in 2016. While you can find rainbow foods everywhere nowadays, there is only one original, and this store has it. I was still living in Florida then, and I remember seeing posts everywhere about the lines for these things. It reminded me of the buzz around the cronut, which also had lines of people waiting for the chance to order one. Still, I wanted to know how they were, so I hopped on the bus and made my way to Williamsburg.
A nice thing about waiting until a trend has passed? Zero line! I had been prepping for days before my visit by checking out the menu online. The Bagel Store is known for rainbow bagels, but there is also a huge list of cream cheese to choose from (Nutella, spinach artichoke, cannoli, etc.), as well as traditional breakfast sandwiches. So many options. They suggest ordering a rainbow bagel with funfetti cream cheese, which just sounded way too sweet for breakfast.
In the time since the rainbow bagel first launched, there has been a bunch of new varieties and flavors, including a “bedazzled” rainbow bagel that is covered in glitter sprinkles. Since I put glitter on everything, I naturally had to pick this variety, plus the buffalo bacon and cheddar cream cheese. I also ordered a plain rainbow bagel on the side…for photos. Literally doing it for the Insta…
Look at this beauty!
Service was pretty fast and very friendly, and most people were ordering breakfast sandwiches to go. The rainbow bagels are more expensive than traditional ones are, and The Bagel Store is cash only.
This thing was built for Instagram.
Okay, okay, so how does the rainbow bagel taste? It tastes…like a plain bagel. The sprinkles make the glittery bagel very sweet, which was delicious, but not what I would expect from a bagel. The cream cheese was outstanding, and I would absolutely come back to try out some of the other, sweeter varieties.
I ended up eating the plain one later on, after using it for photos. It tasted like every other plain bagel, with a slightly different texture than I’m used to. Some people say the rainbow bagel is sweet, but I just didn’t taste it.
So, what is the verdict on the rainbow bagel? It’s definitely a unique, fun food item that screams “hipster Brooklyn.” I don’t know that I would venture to The Bagel Store just for a rainbow bagel again, but I would make my way there for one of the specialty cream cheeses. If you’re in the area (it’s literally next to the Graham Avenue L stop), head on in and see for yourself. It’s a cool little spin on one of New York City’s most popular foods.