The Untold Truth Of Einstein Bros. Bagels

While the name might bring to mind a certain German-born theoretical physicist, Einstein Bros. Bagels isn't related to the Einstein who came up with the theory of relativity. The national bagel chain began its life in 1995 when Progressive Bagel Concepts, Inc. was created by the chicken chain masterminds at Boston Market (via Funding Universe). The plan was to create a national bagel monopoly by bringing together several of the biggest bagel chains in the country. Before the first Einstein Bros. Bagels opened, Progressive Bagel Concepts had 24 bagel shops under its umbrella, including Brackman Brothers, Offerdahl's, and Bagel & Bagel.

Ogden, Utah was home to the first official outpost of Einstein Bros. Bagels. The parent company continued its national bagel takeover, buying up and rebranding smaller chains all over the country. According to Smithsonian Magazine, bagels had been gaining popularity in the U.S. since the 1970s, and Einstein Bros. Bagels was keen on moving this breakfast staple into the national spotlight.

Einstein Bros.' controversial business connection

The Einstein Bros. national takeover continued with the company eventually taking over operations of Manhattan Bagel and Noah's New York Bagels (via Dun & Bradstreet). In 2014, the company was taken over by JAB, a German conglomerate that owns several other U.S. breakfast chains, including Peet's Coffee & Tea, Krispy Kreme, and Intelligentsia Coffee (via Chain Storage and The Washington Post).

In 2019, it was revealed that the Reimann family behind JAB had a sinister past. Thought to be Germany's second-wealthiest family, they have links to Nazi Germany. The Washington Post reports that the family contributed to the SS paramilitary operations. During World War II, the family used French and Russian prisoners of war as forced labor in their factories. The Reimanns didn't try to deny the allegations, and their ties stirred up plenty of controversy, including questions of whether or not customers should continue supporting their brands (via The Boston Globe). In response, the family offered to donate $11 million dollars to charity.

The bagels served at Einstein Bros. are decidedly not New York style

The bagels served at Einstein Bros. are decidedly not New York style. Over the years they've taken all sorts of liberties and expanded their offerings to include everything from classics like everything and sesame to bagels studded with chocolate chips and others topped with jalapeño and cheddar. The chain's signature bagel comes topped with shreds of toasted asiago cheese.

In 2020, Einstein Bros. Bagels got into the gluten-free game with the introduction of Eggels (via Chew Boom). Riffing on both the name and the shape of a bagel, Eggels are bagel-shaped eggs cooked using the sous vide method. Meat and cheese and veggie varieties are available. The chain introduced another signature breakfast item this year. After a successful test run in the Denver area, Einstein Bros. decided to go national with the Bagelrito, which is basically a breakfast burrito that's wrapped in both a flour tortilla and then baked into an asiago bagel dough crust (via PR Newswire).