Jeremy Marmur’s most vivid childhood memories involve eating bagels with his Polish grandfather while selling jumpers at the Queen Victoria Market.
A holocaust survivor, his grandfather was determined to always see the fun side of life, and had a smile permanently fixed to his face. Schmucks – a bagel cafe Marmur has opened with the trio behind food brand Tommy Collins – is not only in honour of the bagel-filled days they shared, but also the zest for life his grandfather held.
“I reckon I’ve eaten two million bagels in my life,” laughs Marmur. “My grandfather’s attitude was always so happy go lucky, and Schmucks is really about bringing bagels to the people in that same fun way.”
Despite regular associations between the famous bready delight and the city of New York, Marmur is determined to stay true to his Polish roots – where bagels originated in the early 1600s. “We wanted to bring my history into it, keep it real and bring the bagel back to its origin,” he says. “We’ll surprise everyone with how we’ve gone about it – no one will have experienced bagels like this before.”
Without revealing all of his secrets, Marmur explains that the perfect bagel should be light and fluffy, and just dense enough to satisfy your hunger. And when paired with their house-made almond butter (apparently “like putty in your mouth”), it’s hard to beat.
Designed to be a vibrant oasis for the city’s working set, the space is tucked in a pocket behind William Street. True to the best of the city, it’s a hidden nugget that awaits discovery. With a sense of humour, well considered offering and some interesting surprises (vegemite swirl bagel with extra creamy salted butter, anyone?) Schmucks aims to put a smile on your dial… just like the one Marmur remembers on his grandfather’s face.
Schmucks, Rear of 199 William Street, city.
- Visit for: Marmur’s favourite – the chicken bagel with dehydrated chicken crackle.
- Stay for: A post-bagel coffee at Patricia Coffee around the corner on Little William Street.
- While you’re there: One of Melbourne’s famed food and shopping precincts, Goldsborough Lane, is just over the road and features a farmers market on the first and third Thursday of every month.