Benny’s Bagels launches via Instagram


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Have you ever been so frustrated with something and thought you could do a better job? That’s exactly how Ben Kraus felt in 2020 due to his frustration with store-bought bagels and why St. Louis’ newest bagel maker, Benny’s Bagels was born.

“My then-roommate’s mother actually gifted us some bread flour and yeast, so I decided to try my hand at making my own bagels,” said Kraus, 28, who grew up a member at Congregation Temple Israel and graduated from Parkway Central High School in 2013. “I grew up in St. Louis and was raised by bagels. My goal at the time was to simply produce a bagel that was better than the store-bought bagels I was buying too often. They turned out pretty good and I just kept making them for friends and family.”

Kraus’ bagels were a hit. And soon the idea of doing something with them was too good to resist.

“My girlfriend, Bella, said that if I was going to make them as often as I was, we might as well start up a page and see what happens,” said Kraus. And that is just what he did.


Ben, Bella and friend.

Bagels via Instagram

@bennysbagelstl launched just this month and is the sole outlet for the cottage business Kraus has created. In Missouri, cottage food producers are limited to selling only baked goods, canned jams or jellies, and dried herbs and herb mixes.

“My bagels are a classic New York-style bagel down to the ingredients, process and taste,” said Kraus. “Our ingredients consist of a high gluten flour, yeast, salt, sugar, malt syrup and of course water.”

The end result is on average a 6 oz. bagel true to style; crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

“But, not too dense or fluffy. The bagels lend themselves to just about anything, sandwiches, cream cheese, butter or even plain if that’s your thing,” said Kraus.

You can pick up bagels by the dozen ($16)  or half-dozen ($10) in plain, everything, sesame, poppy seed, garlic and a bagel of the week. They also take requests.

How it works

All ordering is done via direct messaging on the Instagram app. Orders are accepted on Wednesday morning until they are booked up. Pick-up for the bagels takes place on Friday and Saturday.

“We have a very limited capacity with our current setup, so ordering early is encouraged before we are sold out,” said Kraus.

For now, Kraus and Bella are just having fun with Benny’s Bagels but are thrilled that the response has been so positive.

“We’re having fun making them and putting a smile on people’s faces with a good old-fashioned bagel.  We are loving the support and the interest, and we are seeing our capacity and just going from there.  At the moment we are really just enjoying the process and we’ll see what the future holds,” said Kraus.