New bagel shop flourishes in Pointe-Claire despite pandemic

Dizz’s owners took a leap of faith after noticing there were no other stores selling fresh Montreal-style bagels in Pointe-Claire Village

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The pandemic has taken its toll on Montreal’s restaurant industry, but bleak times didn’t stop a West Island couple from opening their own bagel shop.

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Mike and Spenser Dizgun opened Dizz’s Bagel in Pointe-Claire last month, just as the Omicron variant was emerging in time to crash the holidays. But since opening the doors of the store on Cartier Ave., they’re happy to report that their bagel business is headed in the right direction, thanks to word of mouth and takeout.
“So far so good,” Mike said. “Fortunately, the restrictions only limit the number of people who can enter (to seven).”

“Last weekend was crazy,” Spenser added. “We had a line out the door and down the street for four hours. We made over 500 sandwiches in two days. We are very honored by the response from the community.”

Dizz’s is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., so the draconian provincial 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew does not apply.

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“If we were a restaurant, I don’t know how we would get by,” added Mike, who employs nine employees and could eventually hire a few more.

Undeterred by the pandemic, the Dizguns quit their corporate jobs to give the bagel business a try.

They took a leap of faith after noticing that there were no other stores selling fresh Montreal-style bagels in Pointe-Claire Village, home to several coffee shops and bakeries.

“We thought it was a great fit for the town because the only other bagel shops on West Island are on Highway 20 or Highway 40,” Mike said. “The town seemed to really need something like this.”

The couple bought the nearly 100-year-old building on Cartier Ave. last March and began renovations. The building had previously been used as a travel agency. “It was a big construction project because we added an extension to the rear and we were dealing with an older building that we were trying to keep intact,” said Mike. “We probably started in April and May with the idea of ​​opening in September. But COVID delays pushed it into the first week of December.”

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Bagels are baked on site. “We’re moving away from wood (burning) and using a natural gas furnace,” Mike noted. “We also make all of our cream cheeses in-house. The truffle has been, by far, our biggest seller”.

If the buns sound familiar to customers, it’s because Dizz’s uses the same family recipe that his father, Steven Dizgun, developed decades ago at another Montreal location.

“My dad used to own the REAL bagel franchise. When he bought it he had a few stores. He ended up selling them, except for one on Cote-St-Luc Rd. that he renamed Dizz’s bagel about seven or eight years ago.

“But he kept the same bagel recipe from day 1. It’s the same one we’re using today in our new store. So now it’s three generations technically with my grandfather (Irwin “Dizzy” Dizgun) starting with my dad.”

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But before settling on a recipe, the Dizguns sampled offerings from Montreal bagel heavyweights like Fairmont and St. Viateur. “We went to all the big bagel shops to try the flavor. We just find that our bagel has a little more flavor and a little more sweetness than all the others. But all Montreal bagels are amazing.”

While Mike, 32, brings his family’s bagel recipe to the operation, his wife’s American family is behind the concept of a modern sandwich shop. Dizz’s offers a variety of bagel sandwiches beyond the standard smoked salmon and cream cheese.

“My parents opened a breakfast restaurant in Southern California, where I grew up, 30 years ago,” Spenser said. “We moved to the East Coast when I was in high school and opened another four or five restaurants. I worked in all of them, ran the catering department.

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“So it’s always been in my blood,” he said. “I promised myself I would never do it, but here we are.”

She said the menu reflects “a Southern California vibe” with fresh ingredients like avocado and fresh-squeezed juice.

The couple met while attending St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Mike was the goaltender for the Division III men’s hockey team, and Spenser played college lacrosse. After college, Dizgun played a year of professional hockey in Dunkirk, France, before returning to Boston. (His other claim to fame is having played US high school hockey at Deerfield Academy with Alex Killorn, a West Islander who became a star with the Tampa Bay Lightning.)

After living in Beantown for a few years after college, Mike says he finally convinced Spenser to move to Pointe-Claire.

“He cheated on me because he brought me here in the summer,” Spenser said Tuesday as temperatures in Montreal dipped to -25C.

Did Mike warn his wife about the chilly Quebec winters?

“He didn’t, but everyone else in Boston did,” Spenser said, later adding. “I actually love Montreal.”

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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