Honey, Light My Fire 5

Montreal-Style Bagels make their way across the border.

Honey, light my fire etched on the window is what greets me upon arrival at newer than new Woodgrain Bagels in Boulder between CU and downtown Pearl Street. One part Jim Morrison (at least in the signage), one part Montreal and all parts delicious, Canada (or at least some Canadian fare) has found a new home in Boulder.

I’m an East Coast gal. Bagels, pizza, and toasted subs top my list of “down-home” chow. Montreal bagels are categorized by three criteria: hand-rolled, boiled in honey water and wood-fire roasted. These processes give the bagel a somewhat irregular shape, a sweeter flavor and a crispier texture.

Hailing from the Toronto fine-dining scene, Founder and Owner David Bowen recognizes that the experience is just as much of a selling point as is the food offering. Hospitality abounds as hand-rolled and handcrafted bagels, spreads and sandwiches are prepared to perfection and tailored to each customer.

“By creating an inviting community-focused experience we fill emotional needs beyond hunger,” Bowen tells me in between guest interactions during a busy afternoon at Woodgrain.

In a somewhat new stage of life (parenting), David remarks that after many years and long hours in food service, he is ready for more time with his family including his three young sons.

“I spent many years working while my friends socialized and started families,” he explains.

As we finish our interview, he mentions to me excitedly how today, in fact, he is hoping to see one of his sons practice soccer before heading home.

Menu items include breakfast fare that ranges from a bagel with whipped cream cheese to a Huevos Rancheros Sandwich to a Boulder favorite, avocado toast (on a bagel). Later-in-the-day items include lunch-type sandwiches packed between two halves of, you guessed it, a bagel. I order the Mile High Rueben, a New York deli-style staple that Bowen admiringly dubs “the six napkin sandwich.” It doesn’t take long for me to figure out that he’s not kidding: this is the Godzilla, the Henry VIII, the Cersei Lannister of sandwiches. If you’re not too intimidated, try it with a side of real, Canadian poutine.

“The guest experience is paramount to any retail/foodservice operation,” Bowen explains as we conclude our interview.

The food offerings coupled with the warm, inviting decor present through every aspect of the Woodgrain experience lead me to believe that we haven’t seen the last of David Bowen’s culinary prowess. Stay tuned …