Washington Baker Tells Story of Struggle, Success Through Bagels


The Georgetown Bagelry may be the best bagel shop in the nation’s capital, and the woman who brought it to prominence is now telling all.

In a memoir titled “Who Scooped My Bagel?,” CEO and owner Mary Beall Adler tells her harrowing life story of an abusive marriage and alcoholism–and the business she guided to success through it all.

With no formal business or culinary training, Beall Adler joined the bakery in 1985. After learning everything she could about the delicacy and perfecting a recipe, the Bagelry took off. It was named the Best Bagel in DC by the Washington City Paper in 2009, 2011, and 2012, and has also been praised by the Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine.

The shop moved from its original downtown location on M Street to the upscale suburb of Bethesda, where it began mass production and wholesaling.

In her new book, Beall Adler writes that through much of this history, she had to bake bagels while pregnant, raising children, and dealing with a violent husband in jail–sometimes all at the same time.

But in an interview in the Washingtonian, Beall Adler offers some happier insights she’s learned over the years. The baker says Washingtonians love everything and cinnamon-raisin bagels in particular, and that teenagers can’t get enough bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwiches.

The title of her memoir refers to carving out the soft inside of a bagel, which some people do in an attempt to cut calories. Beall Adler endorses the practice, which is highly controversial among bagel purists, suggesting it makes the bagels more crunchy (possibly after toasting?).

In addition to “love and passion,” Beall Adler has one other required ingredient for great bagels.

“High-quality flour… When the economy bites the dust, don’t cut corners.”


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