Among a lot of bleak news, Seattle's burgeoning bagel scene is cause for celebration. And last week, despite the sudden closure of popular Beep Boop Bagel, the supply remained steady at Schmaltzy's Delicatessen in Ballard, as the Jewish deli immediately transitioned to making its own bagels in-house.
Beep Boop, owned by Jordan Clark, rose to popularity via Instagram as a bakery without a storefront before sharing Schmaltzy's space as a hub for making and selling its bagels. Schmaltzy's owner Jonny Silverberg says he's disappointed to see his friend go out of business, and at the same time he's proud of his head baker, Sabrina Schneider, and her second in command, Chris Chapman, for picking up the slack. "The bagels were the last thing we weren’t making ourselves in the space," Silverberg says. "It’s bittersweet, but it’s good for our business as it’s one more thing we can do."
Because Schmaltzy's and Beep Boop had been working together in close proximity, Silverberg says the new bagels are very similar to the old ones: boiled and baked with barley malt syrup for a chewy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior in the New York style—though not, Silverberg is quick to point out, truly New York bagels. "Part of the lore of eating a New York bagel is standing in New York City eating it," he says, hoping that people will keep an open mind toward these just as they do toward any of his "not-quite-traditional" foods, from rye rolls (instead of the typical slices) to the latke press sandwiches that first gained notoriety through the Napkin Friends food truck (Schmaltzy's precursor). "I'm happy with [our bagels], and people have been happy with them."
Through its online store or in person, Schmaltzy's offers pickup of five flavors for now—sea salt, everything, poppy, sesame, and onion—with more to come. You can top the bagels with a variety of schmears and add-ons, including herbed caper or roasted poblano pepper cream cheese, lox, and smoked trout. The deli also sells "Lox in a Box," a package of six bagels, 12 oz plain cream cheese, 1/3 lb of lox, capers, and red onion. It's one of the business adaptations, like the online shop itself, that Silverberg says has worked out surprisingly well despite being an adjustment forced by the pandemic.
Unless he can take over some of the parking lot, Schmaltzy's likely won't start seating diners for the foreseeable future, even when Seattle enters the next phases of reopening, as its space simply doesn't leave room for tables and lines of customers waiting. But, Silverberg says, "we can limp along just doing takeout for a long while." Bagels should help.