From horse-and-buggy baker to the boss of bagels

Beloved Bathurst bakeshop has a cen­tury of his­tory

North York Post - - News - By Jes­sica Wei

The Gryfe fam­ily’s legacy of bak­ing be­gan in 1915, when Sam Gryfe ped­dled his baked goods out of a horse and car­riage in Hamil­ton. Over a cen­tury later, the fam­ily is still bak­ing. In 1961, Arthur Gryfe im­pro­vised a recipe that would be­come their sig­na­ture three-bite fluffy bagel. Arthur’s son, Moishe, now runs the beloved fam­ily busi­ness.

How did your fam­ily get into the bagel busi­ness?

In 1956, My fa­ther bought a gro­cery store on Bathurst. Right after he opened, more stores opened up around the area. He started bak­ing to try to get more busi­ness, and a lady came in one day and asked for bagels. My mother said, “Of course! He can make you any­thing!” My fa­ther had never baked a bagel in his life! He turned out some­thing that the lady thought were OK, but he kept tweak­ing the formula. Now we do about a thou­sand dozen bagels a day.

What makes Gryfe’s bagels unique?

Most of the bagels you get in a lot of the stores here are much harder and chewier. Ours are very soft and light. It’s a unique prod­uct. Some peo­ple say, well, that’s not re­ally a bagel. But it’s what peo­ple like! The kids can eat them be­cause they’re softer and eas­ier to eat. One of the com­plaints I’ll get is, “I bought a dozen, and I only got six of them home!”

What does the next 100 years of Gryfe’s look like?

My dad passed away around 1998 and I’ve been car­ry­ing the ball. We lived above the store, and my mother and my fa­ther worked very hard. I was 13 when I started work­ing, and I’m 69 now. It’s been a long time. Peo­ple ask me why I don’t re­tire, but I wouldn’t know what I would do if I re­tired. My son helps a bit, but I wouldn’t want him to do some­thing that he doesn’t want to do. (3421 Bathurst St., 416-783-1552)

Two-year-old Moishe Gryfe in his mother’s arms, pos­ing with his fa­ther, Arthur Gryfe, and his broth­ers

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