B-Holes: From Phobia to Phenom
Entrepreneur Grant Sarvis Stuffs the Competition with his Homemade, Filled, Bagel Holes
The Meat & Potatoes
I like green curry chicken from Thai restaurants.
I can make my scalp move without using my hands.
Grant Sarvis was tending bar at Ted's Bulletin in January 2016 when he happened to make a joke about donut holes by calling them b-holes instead of d-holes. The joke sparked a light-bulb in Grant's head and he couldn't shake the idea of stuffing a bagel hole to create B-holes!
Sarvis started googling "how to make bagels" (seriously), and for the next five months went through countless recipes to perfect the B-hole bagel dough. Sarvis' trial and error test kitchen period lead him to the ideal bagel recipe: a crispy exterior with a chewy interior, which is boiled, then baked, and filled with cream cheese BY HAND so that the texture of the cream cheese is "legit," says Sarvis.
Since thinking up the idea for B-Holes, Sarvis has expanded from his home kitchen to a commercial space in DC's Mess Hall, a culinary incubator, and is up late most evenings until 6am making fresh B-holes for delivery. The one piece of equipment that he has purchased to "make life easier" is a jelly donut filler to stuff the B-holes with his flavored cream cheeses. However, on hot days in the summer he keeps his cream cheese in a piping bag in a cooler and fills them by hand so that it doesn't melt in the heat. Now, that's quality control if I've ever seen it!
Ya'll... these B-Holes are the real deal. My first bite was packed with flavor: a slight crisp on the crust was greeted with a chewy, soft mantle and then surprised by the cold, creamy, flavor explosion of cream cheese in the core! Yes, I just described the B-Holes as a planet, but they truly are OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Every unique flavor combination is noticeable on the palate. The Original advertises chive onion garlic cream cheese inside an everything b-hole and girl, it does not disappoint. The everything bagel hole is heavily coated with salt, onion, garlic, poppy and everything nice and the cream cheese is loaded with chive, garlic and onion. Maybe not the best thing to eat on a first date, but it delivers on its description.
Each B-Hole flavor follows suit: you want bacon? You CAN'T HANDLE THE BACON in the Barlic Gacon flavor. Just try them (here), you will not be disappointed. I even tried the local competition (Starbucks and Milk Bar have some similar products), being skeptical of a Google Bagel Maker, and I was left speechless. The competitors did not even come close to the authenticity, flavor or creativity that B-Holes brings to the party. So do yourself a favor, go check out one of Grant's pop-ups, order B-Holes for your next party, and tell Grant what an awesome job he's doing as DC artisan of deliciousness. Here's more about Grant:
How did you get into the bagel business?
I made a joke about d-holes (donut holes) with a coworker calling them b-holes. Then I really liked the idea of a bagel hole and spent a year or so learning how to make a bagel.
What is your favorite thing to make using your products?
Bagel holes are my favorite thing to make. I like experimenting and seeing how I can push the boundary in the savory category. I have a lot of ideas that I plan on pushing out next year. For instance, a chicken salad b-hole, fried chicken b-hole, and my personal favorite, a sloppy joe b-hole.
Which product are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of my original flavor. It was the first one I made and I love it because it's a bold take on a bagel classic.
Why is it important to support local bakeries instead of supporting the competition, besides the glaring reason that yours are better?
I think it's important to support things that are good. Whether it be local or not, that's not the point. It just so happens that most of the time the things worth talking about are local. It's the small time shops that still do everything by hand that add that human element that big players don't bring. I think when you taste my bagel holes compared to my competitors', cough Starbucks cough, you can taste that [my product] was made a few hours ago and nearby. A lot of the time my display case in the cold looks foggy, and people ask, "Why does it look that way?" I say, "They are just still warm from the oven and that's condensation." You're not going to get that when Starbucks nukes theirs from a plastic bag prior to order.
Do you have a specific memory that ties in with bagels? Or were you really just trying to capitalize on the genius brand name B-Holes?
I actually didn't like bagels growing up and had a phobia of cream cheese. I remember eating breakfast outside with my family and my sister, who was the bagel fan. All I can remember is cream cheese on her chubby little fat cheeks. It was like right between the corner of the lips and cheeks and it would stay there for the duration of the breakfast and haunt me. The sight of cream cheese disgusted me since then. So much so, that in college my roommates knew that I hated cream cheese and as a prank they covered my bed with cream cheese and then put the duvet over it. So when I got into bed I was covered in the stuff. I was furious! It wasn't until I started B-Holes that I had to face my fear for the good of the brand. Plus our cream cheese is so flavorful.
Where can we find your products?
Tell me about production - do you have a large staff? What is a typical day like for the B-Holes team?
Do I have a large staff? Hahaha, I fucking wish. I have one apprentice who works 35 hours a week. He just started a few weeks ago. It's mainly me in the kitchen and me selling. I wake up around midnight and get to the kitchen and bang it out. Then around 6am, you can usually see me frantically running to do deliveries and going to our pop up for the day. It was easier when it started because my girlfriend was here, but she went back to college (aka masters) because she smart. When she comes back though, she always helps out and makes it easier.
Where do you see the business going in the next few years? Do you plan to have your own store front?
I plan on the business doing wholesale. That's how I want to establish the brand. I would do a store front, but it is not in the works at the moment. I am mainly trying to get b-holes in coffee shops around the city. We are in a few right now and they have been successful. I want to continue that.
"One thing all people should know is that 4 out 5 doctors say that a b-hole a day keeps the doctor away!"
Grant Sarvis is a bad-ass entrepreneur, who is not afraid to work hard in order to produce a fantastic product. His silly idea has grown into an addicting product that has DC foodies lining up for B-holes before they sell out. I am so fortunate to know him and learn from his motivation and persistence, and I'm lucky to call him my friend. Thank you Grant, for being an amazing Hangry Hero and for sharing your product with the world!