I’ve learned that a new bagel shop is opening up on NE Sandy Blvd next to the Mom & Pop Wine Shop—Ben & Esther’s Bagels. It’s slated to open in October 2019 with a variety of bagels, schmears, salads and beverages.
I reached out to Justin King, founder of Ben & Esther’s, and asked him what he thinks is special about what he’ll bring to Portland’s bagel scene. “Well, I’m certainly not reinventing the wheel here,” he remarked. “I just wanted to bring good, NY-style, boiled bagels to a neighborhood that’s lacking [in them]. There are decent bagels in Portland and everyone has their preference. I’m just offering what I consider to be an authentic, quality bagel in a comfortable environment.”
You may be familiar with his other projects around town: Blackheart, Rooks Barbershops, Legion Motorcycle Co., Luchador Bar & Grill, Rosewater Tattoo, Veggielicious and Double Dagger Pomades. He considers Ben & Esther’s a passion project, with origins hearkening back to his youth in a NY Jewish household when he ate bagels every day. He also feels that the bagel shop is a way to honor his grandparents (Ben and Esther), while doing a deep dive into the world of bagels.
Boiled bagels—not steamed—will be the foundation of the shop, naturally. It looks like they’ll sell a classic lineup, from plain to salt, everything to cinnamon raisin; bialys, too! Schmears like veggie, scallion, and plain will also be on the menu; more “modern” flavors like jalapeño, and Nutella are possibly in the plans (I do love me a spicy jalapeño cream cheese on a bagel). Nice to see a good whitefish salad on the menu, too; of course there will be lox. And large orders/catering will be an option for those who need or want it—office breakfast meeting nourishment, anyone?
And you can wash it all down with a cup of Nossa Familia coffee (they’ve been trying different blends to get just the right one). Here’s hoping their Dr. Brown’s selection will include the classics: Cel-Ray and Black Cherry. Might we even see Yoo-hoo one day, too?
From what I can tell on Nextdoor, neighbors are pretty psyched about a real-deal boiled bagel shop opening up in the area. I know I am. Ben & Esther’s Bagels will be a great addition to the NE Sandy thoroughfare that is seeing some interesting changes these days. Best of luck to Justin and his staff as they prepare to bring great bagels to NE Portland!
This post has been edited.