For many New Yorkers, the original H&H Bagels at 80th and Broadway were the gold standard, the very height of bagel perfection to which none other compared. But they were shut down in 2011 for tax fraud and were mourned by many. (The trademark has since been purchased and put back into use. For the full story, see: NYT 5/27/10, NYT 6/21/11, another NYT, Gothamist, Wikipedia, this book!)
Hi, I'm Emily. Growing up in suburban NJ, there were plenty of good bagels around. But when my father had business take him to the Upper West Side, he would stop by Zabar's for lox, sable, whitefish, and chive cream cheese, and H&H for bagels, which we would have as a special treat. These bagels were on a whole different level of unique deliciousness. After moving away, I would look forward to possibly having them when visiting home. And then one day I learned that they had gone out of business, and was deeply upset. I took this news like the death of a loved one I just hadn't been in contact with in a long time, and grieved, and said I didn't want to let those bagels cease to exist. And so I embarked on what became my five year quest, through trial and error, to create a bagel I longed to eat.
On the name
boychik (plural boychiks)
Noun (chiefly Jewish/Yiddish) Term of endearment for a young boy or a young man.
A few years before she died, I went to visit my grandmother, having recently "gone butch." "Oy, such a boychik!", she cried, "Tell me, will you be having your Bar Mitzvah soon?" Followed by a discussion about my spectator shoes and how my grandfather once had similar shoes which she had loved. I'm pretty sure she'd tell you that my bagels are the best!