In 1995, the world gave birth to the Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise, a chain breakfast eatery that eventually grew up to fulfill its life dream: serving hundreds of hungry West Chester University students each day. Although we spend dozens of meal swipes per semester on their honey almond schmear and iced coffee, who among us has ever wondered who the Einstein Bros are?
Elmo and Melvyn Einstein, are often believed to be twins — but this is not so. In fact, the brothers had different parents yet were coincidentally born on the same day — Feb. 29, 1886, at the same instant, in the very same hospital room. The unique circumstances of their birth created a fascinating and powerful bond between them, and Elmo and Melvyn spent their earliest years in a Princeton University laboratory being observed by a team of scientists.
Researchers studying the boys quickly discovered the mystical quirks of their relationship. They were able to feel each other’s pain, read each other’s thoughts and become full from a meal ingested by the other. They seemed to age very slowly, only reaching the size and maturity of two one-year-old boys by the turn of the century. Most importantly, it was found that should the brothers ever be separated, time itself would halt.
The head of the research team, a Princeton University professor, raised Elmo and Melvyn as his own, being sure to always keep them together. Although just starting out in the field of physics, the boys’ surrogate father eventually became world-renowned. His name was Albert.
As teenagers in the 1940s, Elmo and Melvyn struggled to fit in. Their many oddities made them subject of enormous ridicule by their peers, and Albert eventually elected to pull them from public school and enroll them in the culinary arts program at a nearby vocational academy. It was here that the brothers first fell in love with the bagel.
“The round shape is representative of the human life cycle,” commented Elmo and Melvyn in perfect unison when interviewed at the 2019 Met Gala. “Bagels were here before us, and bagels shall be here after.”
After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1971 with dual degrees in Yeast and Hospitality, Elmo and Melvyn bade their father goodbye and set out to make a name for themselves in Las Vegas, Nevada. The brothers established a tiny shop called Einstein Eats on the Strip and made a pretty penny selling their bagels to gamblers and Elvis impersonators. At the time, the Einsteins’ menu was limited to a plain bagel, the recipe from their joint thesis perfected over almost six years, and a tasty whipped cream cheese. Customers soon began requesting something new, something never before seen in the bagel field.
And so Elmo and Melvyn began scheming and experimenting. Their first batch of asiago bagels sold out in one minute flat, and the brothers were soon selling strawberry schmear by the gallon. Eventually, the shop’s repertoire had expanded to muffins, cookies, and hash browns, and word of their baking prowess had spread up and down the West Coast. Two more Einstein Eats were opened the following year in San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington. From there, new locations started to pop up across the country.
In 1995, the now national chain Einstein Eats was rebranded as Einstein Bros. Bagels and the brothers, nearing 100, decided to retire. However, their juvenile appearances allow Elmo and Melvyn to blend seamlessly into the college crowd. The brothers’ final executive decision introduced Einstein Bagels to dozens of American campuses of higher education (including that of West Chester University) so that they could continue to observe the effects of their legacy while posing as customers. If you look carefully, you may see a pair of mustached young men shuffling arm-in-arm around our very own Lawrence Center. Some say that the student who manages to catch the brothers will inherit their enormous fortune, but I can tell you from experience that they are very fast, and your chances don’t look all that good.
DISCLAIMER: This article is part of The Quak, a satirical series of articles that are released in commemoration of April Fools Day.
Hannah Linkowsky is a fifteenth-year Bread History major with minors in Riddles and Beekeeping. HL977843@wcupa.edu.
One thought on “The Quak: Elmo & Melvyn Einstein: The Untold Story”
Hilarious, just what I needed this morning. Will follow your fun writing in The Quad.