5411 Rue de Verdun/Woodland Ave.
Tel : 514-507-8430
Bagels St Lo is not your mainstream bagel shop or breakfast spot, but if you are an afficionado of both, this may be the place for you. With so many restaurants around town to have coffee or breakfast at, going to Verdun may seem out of the way for most Montrealer’s. This local café/shop has quite a cult following and is considered a neighborhood gem. Often only frequented by locals, it is a very popular place to have breakfast or just hang with friends for coffee. Verdun residents probably want to keep it a secret. This is what I feel, and the only reason I headed that way was to meet a friend for coffee.
My friend lives a few blocks from rue De Verdun and suggested Bagels St-Lo. I was hungry too but had met my quota for bagels that week. Not knowing much about the place, I headed down with address in tow and waited outside for a while, till I couldn’t wait any longer. So, I made my way inside to grab a seat and a hot coffee. The café is split into two dining rooms, the one at the front of the house is more eclectic and has a very boho feel to it, with couches, wooden rustic furniture.
The other dining room looks newer and it has a plethora of chalk boards, posters and license plates on the wall. The furniture is still a mish mash of styles, but is cozy and comfortable and very unpretentious. The center of the room holds a square counter with stools, where you can sit and watch the staff at work, pay your bill or order bagels for take-out.
I walked in and waited for a while before I was acknowledged and then told to take any seat. A friendly waitress showed up and took my order for coffee and handed me the menu. I waited a little longer for my friend to arrive, when she did, she suggested we have some lunch. Unbeknown to me, they do not serve anything on bread, except for bagels. I was not too happy but had no choice.
Bagels St-Lo first opened its doors in July 2014. It not only serves fresh bagels which are made on-site daily, they serve healthy breakfasts, soups, salads and lunch. Locals claim St-Lo bagels are better than St-Viateur bagels and they are very proud of it. The place is a whole different genre of bagels shops you would find in the Mile End, in a good way.
The atmosphere is very homey and comfortable and I can see why people linger. The area I was sitting in had an alcove at the window with miniature tables and chairs where children could sit. There was also a settee, either used as a spot to sit and wait when they are busy or just read.
Finally, my girlfriend showed up and we decided to order right away as we were both famished. I went with the Tuna melt called Croque O thon. It was an open-faced bagel with Tuna salad, red onions, green peppers, and melted swiss shredded cheese. It came served with a potage of vegetable soup and a green salad.
To my surprise, it was a generous portion and very good. The soup was a thick creamy consistency of pureed fall vegetables. It was perfectly seasoned, not too salty or to peppery and very healthy. The Tuna melt was just as good, it had a big mound of tuna salad made with red onions and green peppers, that made the bagel disappear. The salad also contained bagel croutons, whole cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers and slivers of red onions, sprouts. The honey- grain mustard dressing came served on the side, it was delicious and played well with the sweet yellow peppers.
My girlfriend’s ordered the Vegan Eggs Benedict, which came served atop a bagel instead of the usual breakfast English muffin. The plate had ample fresh fruit, and a side of beans. The Hollandaise sauce was also very good. I was told they are famous for this dish.
We had free coffee refills, as much as we wanted, we just had to serve ourselves at the side counter. Staff is very nice and accommodating, but service is was very slow. The restaurant was not busy, so we just lingered and talked for a while, sipping our coffees till they were almost ready to close.
Bagels St Lo is open weekly from 7 am to 6 pm. They close earlier on the weekends at 3 pm. Before we left, I was told to order their cream cheese to take home. They use local distributors for many of their products and the cream cheese is the freshest you’ve ever tasted.
Bagel St-Lo takes pride in their business and it shows. It was started by two girls, who now have their own families. It is important to them, that they serve comfort healthy food that is fit for your family. It is a low-key kind of place, that is unpretentious and familiar. It is also very reminiscent of a simpler life, when everything did not matter. Very different to what this foodie is used to, but sometimes we need to think outside the box. Verdun is just this type of community. It has a lot to offer and it is quickly gentrifying and is very appealing to a whole different class of people with a great sense of community. All this being said, it may be a small trek to that part of town, but Bagels St-Lo is worth a detour anytime.