VIDEO: One Man’s Mission to Save the Bialy

kossars bialys james boo

Marc Halprin had worked in bagel distribution for 15 years when he was offered a chance to buy Kossar’s Bialys. Obsessed with reviving the old-fashioned bagel recipe in New York, he set that goal aside after realizing that the bialy had just as much history (and just as many tough, unsatisfying renditions throughout the city).

Kossar’s, a historic bakery built around an equally historic brick oven, has been operating on the Lower East Side since the 1930s. While its bialy and its name can be found in stores all over town, Halprin has worked furiously to make good on the bakery’s reputation by perfecting the qualities of this simple, onion-topped roll. In the process, he’s transitioned from being a bagel businessman to a straightforward champion for the taste of old New York.

James Boo

James Boo is a multimedia journalist based in Brooklyn. As Editor-in-Chief of Real Cheap Eats, an independent filmmaker, and a freelance food writer, James has devoted his storytelling career to the intersection of food and culture. You can see more episodes of this web series at

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