Saturday, April 01, 2006 Marx's Bagels
A couple weeks ago, Dianne and I went to Marx's Hot Bagel Factory in Blue Ash. There is a large sign on the door that says "This is an experience, not a restaurant. Owner not politically correct. Enter at your own risk." We've been going there off and on since we moved here so we knew what to expect.
It was a busy day. The counter was full and there was a large line of people waiting to place orders at the register. While waiting in line, Dianne spotted some people leaving their seats at the counter so we got out of line and sat down. John Marx the owner, affectionately dubbed "The Bagel Man", was working near that spot. He seemed pretty wound up with all the customers. Fortunately, one of the employees came over to wait on us before he got there. ALL the employees there hustle or The Bagel Man chews them out. We knew what we wanted, ordered, and paid promptly when we got our bagels.
The Blue Ash location of Marx's Hot Bagels is Kosher. We were chatting about the Marx experience and Dianne asked if I remembered when we saw The Bagel Man wait on someone many years ago who asked for ham or bacon on their bagel. Boy did he go off on one of his rants! No sooner did Dianne mention that when the Bagel Man gets on the restaurant speaker and yells to people in line to get over to the counter and order rather than standing in line at the register. Then he takes out his referee whistle and gives it a big blast so they know where to go.
The first people ordering from him give little bits of their request at a time. It's hard to know if he's paying attention since you say one thing and he walks away. However, he expects you to yell the rest of your order so he'll get everything at once. When The Bagel Man returns and hears more of the order he starts ranting to the customer about the right way to order. After a couple more rounds of this, the customer finally asks "why do you have to be so mean?" That softens him up a bit and when he comes back with the take out bagels he gives an extra couple bagels in a bag with some instructions how to keep them.
The next couple ordering comes over and the woman asks The Bagel Man for a Reuben bagel sandwich. He replies we don't have that and she comes back with I'll just have corned beef on a bagel. That sends him over the edge so he grabs the microphone and yells to one of the customers he recognizes in line and asks him to come over and explain to this lady why we don't have corned beef – this is a kosher place (although I understand it's possible to make kosher corned beef). It was a classic déjà vu moment for us.
You can read more about the Bagel Man story here
and experiences at the restaurant here
. Most important for me, I think he makes a great bagel product. Whether he's blowing a whistle, wearing a beanie, or looking at you through the bagel glasses, you are in for an experience if you go to Marx's Bagels while John is working.
If you want bagels and bialys like you find in NYC this is the place to go. As promised here are some photos from my last visit to this wonderful Cincinnati institution:
..what the outside looks lik..
...part of the bagel and bialy selection that awaits you...
..a wide shot of the interior of Marx Bagels..
..part of the lunch counter...