Today we get both an in-depth look at the state of the Bay Area bagel in the New York Times Magazine, which features Wise Sons Bagel, and a feature story in the Chronicle focusing on Wise Sons Bagel, which is now finally recovering from the loss of their commissary kitchen to that Mission fire in January.
Co-owners Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, who opened Wise Sons Deli on 24th Street in 2012, spent a couple years serving everything in the Jewish deli canon except homemade bagels (for a while they were serving bagels made by Beauty's Bagel Shop in Oakland), from challah to deli rye to homemade pastrami. But, as the legend goes, and as they tell the NYT, Bloom pushed Beckerman for months, saying, "We need a great bagel. How hard can it be?" and finally, after much practice, testing, and scaling up to batches of 25 dozen, Beckerman was ready to roll on the commercial operation of their bagel business when that fire hit the morning of January 28.
But at the time it was still only going to be a catering and pop-up business, and provide supplies to the deli's weekend brunch, and the plan all along was to eventually find a storefront. At last that is happening, in the former Sushi Boom space at 1520 Fillmore Street, across the street from State Bird Provisions and The Progress (and the Fillmore Auditorium), right near Geary.
The opening date has still not been announced, but they tell the Chron they're hoping to be making proper bagels in the new space by October. The space will have a retail counter up front and a total of 12 seats, but it will largely be devoted to Wise Sons commissary kitchen needs, including rye bread baking and babka making.
A proper bagel has been like the elusive holy grail of the Bay Area food scene for many years, as the NYT's Elizabeth Weil explains (though we do have some good options now! nine of them in fact!). The key lies in the proper boiling and baking technique, the flavor of the yeasty dough, and achieving that paradigm of crunchy on the outside and bready warm and chewy on the inside a type of perfection I would argue is only really achieved at one place in New York City, Absolute Bagels on Broadway and 110th, but I digress.
Will Wise Sons measure up and be the consistently awesome puck of dough this city so desperately needs? We shall see, in October.
Previously: Wise Sons Bagel Launch Hampered By Mission Fire