The Shmooze

H & H Bagel Saga Continues

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

It’s been through multiple bankruptcies. Its New Jersey manufacturing plant is history. Its iconic Upper West Side store is but a memory. And it now faces the loss of its only remaining space — a West 46th Street plant and shop. But H & H Bagel — once New York’s dominant producer of Jewishy baked treats — will rise again, its beleaguered owner told The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

In his first public comments since the company’s widely publicized Chapter 11 filing last year, Helmer Toro told the Journal “he is in preliminary talks with investors. He also said he is actively looking” for another location on the Upper West Side. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years and I make the best bagels, according to my customers. And I love what I do,” said the 61-year-old Toro, who founded H & H in 1972.

Toro told the Journal he hopes to hang on to his West 46th Street digs even though the property was sold at auction to a real-estate management outfit for an $11 million bid. The sale was approved by a judge last week, and a closing is scheduled for next month. The building’s sale was a result of federal bankruptcy proceedings.

H & H grew from a single Upper West Side location — “a Sunday morning favorite for a bagel and a schmear — into a web of separate but intertwined companies that have fallen like dominoes over the past year,” the Journal wrote. But according to the New York Daily News, Toro himself may have become the company’s biggest liability. “Whether there is enough bite left in the brand to lure a white knight remains to be seen. Doubts about Toro’s operating skills could give investors a sour taste,” the News wrote. A bankruptcy lawyer uninvolved in the case told the news that “H&H is such a strong franchise in New York, he may be able to find an investor, although his record as an operator is less than stellar.”

Toro pleaded guilty two years ago to grand larceny charges. He admitted failing to turn over to the state more than $330,000 in payroll taxes he had withheld from employees, the News said.

As the Forward reported in October, Queens-based Davidovich Bakery, which bills itself as “the only manufacturer in the world that makes hand-rolled kettle-boiled bagels for the wholesale community,” may open its first retail location in H & H’s now-vacated space. The Wall Street Journal, in a January story, also reported that Davidovich had taken over several of H & H’s wholesale accounts.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.