H&H Bagels of ‘Seinfeld’ Fame Is Going Nationwide — No Thanks to Kramer
The bagel shop at the center of Kramer’s 12-year strike on Seinfeld is taking its business across state lines. H&H Bagels, the real-life bagel shop catapulted to fame by the 1997 Seinfeld episode “The Strike,” is set to open locations in Florida and Illinois, kick-starting another chapter in its storied, if sometimes checkered, history.
Back in 2011, the Upper West Side spot was shuttered following the indictment of co-founder Helmer Toro for tax fraud. He was sentenced to 50 weekends in prison for pocketing more than $500,000 in employee taxes, including withheld taxes for about 100 workers and unemployment insurance dues he failed to pay. So maybe Kramer wasn’t too far off in his decision to picket H&H for unfair working conditions, poor wages and a refusal to allow him to celebrate Festivus.
Now owned by chief executive Jay Rushin, H&H Bagels was revived in 2016 and is slated to open company-owned locations in West Palm Beach and Chicago’s Fulton Market as well as its first franchised-location in Boca Raton by the third quarter of 2023. Deals are also in place for more company-owned and franchised locations in California, Virginia, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. Rushin described the franchise expansion as “an opportunity to grow faster with people who know their local markets.” In all, he’s eyeing a total of “500 to 1,000” storefronts.
While H&H will always be linked to Seinfeld, Rushin has made it clear that all of this expansion will not pave the way for a Seinfeld-themed experience. That said, he does note that Kramer has been AWOL from work ever since he’s owned the business.