In September of 2015, President Barack Obama informed The Forward, in a historic interview, of his shock at learning of the closing of his favorite NYC bagel eatery, H&H Bagels, in January of 2012. While the president was shocked by the closing of the world’s most famous and recognizable bagel brand, what was truly shocking were the underlying facts and circumstances surrounding the closing. While most people knew H&H as the iconic, Upper West Side bagel shop where the lines rounded the block, where celebrities loved to frequent, and where one of the most popular Seinfeld television episodes was created, few people knew about the drama and decadence that existed behind the scenes of this NYC landmark.
The Rise and Fall of H&H Bagels takes you on a journey that starts with the fulfillment of the American Dream and ends in a contested, five-year bankruptcy. This is the outrageous, true story of a man who defied the odds and became an American legend, and then defied logic and the law by dismantling his beloved empire.
The story of H&H Bagels is not only the story of the rise and fall of a thriving American business; it is a story of intrigue, economics, corruption, and resiliency, told with humor from the perspective of the one man who lived through it all – its national business manager and right hand to the man at the top of the H&H empire, Helmer Toro.