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Operation Success: Utopia Bagels (Queens, New York)

Staying true to top-quality ingredients and tradition for 40 years.

Often lauded as a “true New York City bagel” or “the best bagel in New York,” Utopia Bagels has risen to success by sticking to the same time-honored techniques and ingredients for the past 40 years.

Locals and tourists alike flock to the shop in Queens, New York that’s known for its fresh, hot bagels with a softer inside and crisp exterior—the result of individually hand-rolling each bagel and kettle-boiling before baking to perfection. It’s this painstaking, old-world process along with the use of quality ingredients like Gold Medal™ All-Trumps™ flour that co-owner Scott Spellman attributes to Utopia bagels’ distinctive flavor and texture.

Staying True to What Works

“Success comes by staying true to what works,” Spellman said, adding that his team has “not changed one thing since day one.”

A Queens institution for four decades, Utopia’s fanbase continues to flourish thanks to a flood of media attention from outlets such as BuzzFeed, Grub Street and Food & Wine magazine. In addition, partnerships with online grocer Fresh Direct and Goldbelly, a curated online marketplace for local food purveyors, enable Utopia to get its bagels into the hands of hungry customers to enjoy at home in New York and across the country.

Today Utopia makes upward of 70,000 bagels a week, which requires a lot of flour!

It Takes a Mountain of Flour

In a recent video on Eater, “The Secrets Behind One of New York’s Best Bagels” Spellman gives a behind-the-scenes tour of Utopia and how they make their legendary bagels—including a glimpse of the shop’s “mountain of flour” where they stock more than 200 bags at a time.

Recognizing flour is essential to his business, Spellman keeps close tabs on his inventory and also stays on top of monthly agriculture reports so he can purchase more flour if necessary. In the video, he says, “If I don’t have flour, I am not in business.”

Staying Ahead of Supply Chain Issues

Tom Santos, who is part of General Mills Foodservice’s team of dedicated flour experts known as “Doughminators” applauds Spellman for staying proactive to ensure his stock of flour doesn’t get too low.

“Freight and transportation have been a pain point for all types of products across many industries in the past few years,” said Santos. “Now, more than ever, it is important to keep an open line of communication with vendors about supply chain.”

150 Years of Flour Quality and Consistency

Santos adds that General Mills takes great pride in supporting customers like Utopia Bagels and the tradition and quality they represent.

“We feel a great responsibility as the source for a product that is the foundation of so many of our customers' thriving businesses,” said Santos. “With 150-plus years of milling history and tight specs, we hope to provide our customers with the confidence that our flour will perform the same day in and day out to give them the quality and consistency they rely on to turn out a great product.”

For more information on flour options, foodservice operators can contact their local General Mills sales rep.

Contact a Sales Rep

For up-to-date weekly market highlights, visit our Flour Facts support tool page