"A Hole and a Soul"
In 1990, Stephen Brown arrived in Seattle thoroughly unimpressed by the city's bagels. As an older entrepreneur, Brown paired himself with Daniel Levin, a young college graduate not experienced but full of food spirit. Together they founded Eltana, a local bagel place right here in our own SAAS Capitol Hill community, creating uniquely crafted food or as Levin calls it, "Art in product."
"Each Eltana bagel has a soul," the back of every Eltana bag reads, "A hole and a soul." In order to mold a different kind of bagel, Brown and Levin based their bagels off the Montreal style. To develop a successful bagel, Levin was sent to a Montreal bakery. For months, he took notes on the best of Montreal bagels, studying to create the perfect bagel and working in the bakery itself, familiarizing himself with the different tools. In the end, what he brought back really did seem to have a soul full of unique tastiness.
Every bagel is first rolled out by hand, transforming the stiff, dense dough into a texture deeply satisfying to chew. From there, the bagels are boiled in honey water, adding a hint of sweetness, then baked on wooden planks. Ten thousand pound ovens wood fire the bagels, giving them a nice scent of smokiness and char. Each bagel doesn't have a top or bottom, both slices are generously seeded and sliced evenly, "We didn't want the bagels to have a bad side that people didn't want," Leven explained. The end product was a unique bagel never before seen in Seattle.
Not only did Brown and Levin want their bagel to be unique, but they wanted their style and name to be as well. The name Eltana was created so the company could serve food customers didn't have preconceived notions about. The logo itself is created with three images to further set Eltana apart: fire, Islamic architectural symbols, and Jewish symbols. To create more style within their shop, Levin and Brown featured a more interesting menu with Mediterranean-style flavors.
Today, Eltana has branched out from its Capitol Hill location into Seattle Center and Stoneway. They have created great jobs for young Seattleites. A current employee, Laora, elaborated, "Working with food is a good experience in a great industry and Eltana has done a great job with keeping the job interesting but manageable at the same time."
Levin states that Eltana is hoping to branch out even to other parts of Washington and California too. In addition, Levin says Eltana has just signed a contract with food industries in Japan. A Japanese CEO walked into Eltana and loved everything about it. As a result, Eltana bagel shops in Japan will be popping up in the near future. So whether you're a student stopping for a bite to eat in Capitol Hill or a CEO hurrying to a meeting in Japan, Eltana bagels have brought together all souls with a sprinkle of Seattle salt and a dash of Montreal honey.