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Rooted in family

Current owner Joe Morena and his three sons Vincenzo, Nicolò, and Roberto believe St-Viateur Bagel’s success owes a lot to their loyal and dedicated employees, many of whom have been hand-rolling bagels for over 25 years, and are an important part of the bagel-making family.

Like their fathers, the Morena boys have been in the bagel business since their early teens and proudly uphold the traditions passed on to them. They remain dedicated to this historic landmark and to the customers it serves, as well as to preserving Montréal’s cherished bagel tradition into the years to come.

St-Viateur Bagel has been baking its famous bagels for over 65 years and is proud to be the longest running bagel shop in Montréal.

60 years of tradition

The full story

From Poland to Montréal

St-Viateur Bagel Shop founder Myer Lewkowicz

In 1953, when Myer Lewkowicz arrived in Canada, he didn’t know the first thing about baking anything, let alone bagels. He’d grown up in a large, poor family in a Jewish shtetl or village near Krakow, Poland. In 1942, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. Years later, while speaking to a high school class, Lewkowicz said, “At Buchenwald, all I dreamt of was a piece of bread.”

Lewkowicz lived and worked in Germany after the war until he was discovered by Jewish Immigration Aid Services of Canada in 1952. He came to Montréal, where he got a job at Hyman Seligman’s Montréal Bagel Bakery on St-Laurent. Lewkowicz learned the bagel trade and just five years later, Myer and his wife Emma set up their own shop with Seligman on St-Viateur street, which is now our landmark St-Viateur Bagel shop.

New Ownership

St-Viateur Bagel Shop owners Joe Morena and Marco Sblano

Joe Morena was only fifteen when he started work at the Bagel Shop. He knew Myer Lewkowicz from delivering milk to his house every weekend. Morena’s cousin worked around the corner from the bagel shop and convinced him to apply for a job. Lewkowicz said, “Hey Yosel!”—the Yiddish name for Joe—and hired him to start that night. Serving so many older Jewish customers, Morena even learned to speak Yiddish. In 1974, he became joint owner of the business with Lewkowicz. The two worked as partners until Lewkowicz’s death in 1994. Then Joe Morena partnered with Marco Sblano to continue the St-Viateur Bagel tradition.

Growing and Giving Back

St-Viateur Bagel Shop owners

St-Viateur Bagel is a family owned and operated business. Over the past 65 years, we have grown to include 7 bakeries, 4 of which are Bagel Cafés.

St-Viateur Bagel has been featured in newspapers and TV shows on Food Network and the Travel Channel, like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and The Layover, Bob Blumer’s Glutton for Punishment, and The Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Thousands of customers have visited the Bagel Shop, from native Montréalers to international tourists and celebrities—like local repeat customers Leonard Cohen, William Shatner, Céline Dion, Georges St-Pierre, Roberto Luongo, and Mordecai Richler, and also famous out-of-towners like Harvey Keitel, James Woods, Kelly Ripa, and Jimmy Kimmel.

Despite this continent-wide recognition, St-Viateur Bagel remains firmly rooted in its local community, determined to give back to the Montréal neighbourhoods that have supported them for so long.

A warm, perfectly toasted bagel will turn any breakfast into a satisfying experience. For 17 years, St-Viateur bagel hosted an annual charity breakfast at its Monkland location to help raise funds for the Generations Foundation, an organization that provides nutritious meals to underprivileged schoolchildren. St-Viateur Bagel is proud to have made a difference in the lives of Montréal’s children.

To mark major anniversaries, St-Viateur Bagel hosts epic community block parties. In 2007 when celebrating its landmark 50th anniversary, the bakery raised upwards of $50,000 for the Foundation of Stars, an important organization that supports pediatric research in Québec. For it’s 60th anniversary, St-Viateur Bagel broke all previous records and, with the support of so many suppliers, friends, families and volunteers, raised over $60,000 for the same organization.

St-Viateur Bagel is dedicated to the community it serves and will continue to support it for many years to come.

Bagel breakfast at St-Viateur bagel cafes

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We have multiple locations throughout Montréal.

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