There’s a hole in Arizona’s bagel industry after one of the truly great bagel spots shut its doors. Odelay Bagel Co. sat in an Ahwatukee Foothills strip mall within two miles of another other great bagel place — Bagel Man. Odelay was open for four years, earning a couple of honors from Phoenix New Times, but it wasn’t enough to stay in business.
In a post to its social media channels last Wednesday, December 4, owner Ryan Probst thanked his customers and highlighted his favorite parts about owning a bagel company.
“Together we made a difference in the lives of the homeless, the mentally challenged and the children of Guadalupe,” he posted.
Just a year ago, Odelay made it into the top tier of the best places in greater Phoenix to eat a bagel — full disclosure, written by me. Probst proudly showed us his proofing process — a baking technique concerning dough fermentation. Probst proofed his dough multiple times over a 24-hour period. He explained his full process while hand-rolling dough. He cared about making bagels the right way, from conception all the way through the order.
Only a handful of places around Phoenix, even all of Arizona, truly know how to make a bagel. Now, there is one fewer spot on that already short list. See, Probst used a water softener for his dough. An incredibly important part of the proofing process is to use clean, soft water. Arizona has an off-the-charts hard water number.
Probst and Odelay’s excellence extended past the point of tasty bagels. He seems to have dedication and pure joy for his craft. Don’t ask him, though. Ask the folks over at Nelson’s Meat + Fish. Probst would drive up to central Phoenix every Saturday morning to deliver bagels to Nelson’s so more people could enjoy the delicacy without having to drive to Ahwatukee.
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And Nelson’s has no plans to find a sub for a service the team believes to be is irreplaceable.
“We have no immediate plans to replace Odelay Bagels on Saturday mornings. The reason we featured Ryan's is because (in our opinion) they were THE BEST in the Valley ... by a long shot,” the company wrote on Facebook on December 7. “We didn't bring them in to celebrate NMF, we brought them in to support a small business with incredibly passionate people that made something so special ... that was always our goal.”
The Valley bagel world has taken a major hit.