I’ve been enjoying Benny’s Bagels for as long as I can remember…Although most Vancouverites think of Benny’s Bagels as a Vancouver institution, the company was actually founded in Victoria in 1982. Its first shop was located in Market Square near current occupant Wannawafel.
I came across an interesting blog called A History of Benny’s Bagels, written by Benny’s Bagels’ founder Mike Hallatt. He discusses the various owners and business partners over the years:
At one point in 1988, other a**holes bought the Robson store as a franchise, stole some equipment, recipes and an employee and started a pirate Benny’s under the name Bagel Street Cafe after they were paid off to give up the Benny’s name. Within some years they had f***** off to Texas under the name Benny’s Bagels whatever. Mike, working on a film with Ed Caraballo in 1996 before Ed was imprisoned in Kabul for allegedly trying to capture Osama Bin Laden (falsely accused), came upon a random Texas Bennys and was talked down from vandalism… [read more here]
Benny’s Bagels’ Kitsilano location, called Benny’s Cafe, is situated on West Broadway near Iron Chef Rob Feenie’s former famed Lumiere restaurant. Benny’s is a casual, comfortable and cozy cafe and its decor uses lots of relaxing warm wood tones. And with its proximity to UBC, complimentary wifi and cheap-eats, and ample seating on two levels all make it a popular place for university students and young locals. Staff are really laid-back (just like Benny’s stained-glass portrait of Jesus holding a large “cigar” above the front entrance) and don’t mind if patrons stay all day working on their laptops or studying for exams.
Benny’s Cafe serves coffee from the North Vancouver based Bean Around the World Roastry, and is very reasonably priced at $1.53 per cup. Bagels are fresh-baked on site every morning and are boiled beforehand. Breakfast Sandwiches are a great deal at $4.30 each, and you can pick your choice of bagel flavour. Gary ordered his with ham, egg and cheese on a poppy seed bagel, while I opted for a avocado in lieu of meat as well as egg and cheese on a multigrain bagel. They were both very satisfying – as is Benny’s Cafe in general. It’s a great casual place to grab a quick breakfast or lunch, get some work done on your laptop, or meet friends for coffee.