Right before it’s time to feed the crowd at The Hundreds’ warehouse sale in Vernon, Evan Fox and James Reamy let out huge yawns. As the creators of the Yeastie Boys food truck, they've been up since well before dawn making New York City-inspired bagels.
Minutes later, after swigs of beer, they open the service window and transform into charismatic showmen.
“Let’s get this babe a Game Over,” yells the burly, bearded Fox to his partners in the back of the truck. “Let’s get a hottie for this hottie,” he says goodheartedly about the middle-aged woman who just placed an order.
“We’ll sling this one over in a second,” says the lanky Reamy, whose T-shirt and brow are drenched from the heat of the grill. Run the Jewels blares in the background.
The rapid-fire back-and-forth between the self-proclaimed “bagel lords” continues as the line of customers grows. The Game Over is the group’s signature offering, its take on the traditional bacon-and-egg sandwich: scrambled eggs, sliced tomato, bacon, beer cheese and a kick thanks to a house jalapeño spread.
After two hours, they were out of bagels.
Yeastie Boys make their fluffy-but-not-too-puffy bagels in the kitchen of Lure in Hollywood, where I watched them prepare the day's batch before sunrise.
Fox and Reamy say they started Yeastie Boys after being unimpressed by what they considered to be lackluster West Coast bagels. After a weekend trip to New York City last summer (where Fox says he “must have eaten 30 bagels” from the Bagel Hole in Park Slope) the two friends, who were bartending in Pasadena at the time, decided to start making their own.
Initially conceptualized as a brick-and-mortar store, Yeasie Boys was reconceived after Fox and Reamy realized that it would be easier to hawk everything from a mobile outlet – and L.A.'s first bagel truck was born.
“It was one of those things that when you know, you know,” Reamy says as he makes bagels in the nightclub’s kitchen.
Purists may point to the difference in water quality as the primary reason West Coast bagels are substandard. Reamy disagrees, stating that bagel makers here instead “take too many shortcuts” when crafting their product.
“It’s not a real bagel unless you boil them, which is what a lot of people get wrong here,” Fox says. “No one does hand-rolled shit like we do.”
Their fluffy bagels are big and tasty – doughy enough to be filling, soft enough to separate them from their L.A. competition.
Fox and Reamy can count at least one celebrity New Yorker as a fan (they think). At a private event they catered not long after their debut at Coachella this year, comedian-actor Billy Crystal came up and ordered the Lox, a bagel sandwich made with lox, dill spread, shaved Persian cucumber, radish and caper pesto.
“The fact that [Crystal] didn’t grimace after he took his first bite means either he’s a great actor, which he is, or he really dug our stuff,” says Fox.