Featured Project

St. Paul Bagelry

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Twin Cities aren't famous for their bagel culture, but that's changing. Recent years have seen a steady rise in locally created bagels, including a recent move by the St. Paul Bagelry to expand from its existing shop in Roseville to a chic second location in Tangletown. The expansion is driven in part by newcomers to Minnesota on a relentless quest for a perfect bagel, chewy on the outside, tender on the inside, and ready to be loaded with toppings or enjoyed with nothing but a schmear of cream cheese.

"There were transplants under the covers in the Twin Cities looking for a good bagel – tons of people from New York and Chicago that are just like – "I've never been able to get a good bagel in the Twin Cities," says Peggy Teed. Teed is a co-owner of the St. Paul Bagelry along with her sister Dodie Green." [The Roseville shop] attracted people from all over the city. We would get emails and calls every week – would you come to St. Anthony? Would you come to Minneapolis?"

The sisters settled on their new spot in part because of the company they now keep.

"There are just so many great bakers in this area," says Teed. "Sun Street Bread is one of them and Patisserie 46, and we just love everything about the community here. When we were thinking about expanding the restaurant we always knew we wanted one in Minneapolis on this side of the city."

Teed and Green first looked at moving into an existing location, but the musts of their business – high-volume production and a welcoming front of the house for bagel cafe customers – dictated a custom approach.

There were many old locations that were very small, and because we make the bagels from scratch we need a large space," says Dodie Green. "We looked at a lot of 'cute' old buildings with funny basements and funny stairs and funny additions and connections... we looked at a lot of spaces where nobody really knew how many square feet we needed because we make on site... more than half the space is for making the bagels."

BUILDING A BETTER BAGEL SHOP

John Wilson of Boelter Landmark Restaurant Equipment and Design was part of the team that transformed a spot at Nicollet Avenue and 54th Street into the shop of the sisters' dreams.

"The challenge was to create a really nice front of the house when the back of the house is so important to them," says Wilson. "We worked side-by-side with these two, they were hands on through the whole process, they picked a lot of the finishes, they're very particular about what they like – which is good!"

The result of Wilson's efforts is a shop that feels clean, airy, modern, and open, where the bagels are the center of attention and customers have an inviting window on the shop's production kitchen in the back of the house.

"One of the really unique things," says Green, "is that as a customer you go from ordering to getting your beverages and condiments and seeing what's going on in back."

The back is a powerhouse, defined largely by a massive kettle for boiling bagels before they're baked and a bagel former that can spit out roughly 288 bagels per 50 yards of dough. The Minneapolis location of St. Paul Bagelry shares the production load with its sister shop in Roseville, putting an emphasis on delivering product fresh to store shelves.

"Everything is about timing to get the product in the stores fresh," says Teed. "It needs to be delivered to the store right after it's baked. Sometimes within two hours it's delivered to the store."

ALL ABOUT THE BAGELS

Customers entering the St. Paul Bagelry are struck immediately by a bold red subway tile and LED lighting display that draws the eye to an alluring collection of baskets filled to the brim with various kinds of freshly made bagels. Cleanly designed but striking light fixtures draw the eye in the dining room, and the booths are capacious and comfortable, designed to welcome families grabbing a quick breakfast and students studying at laptops alike.

Wilson is generous with sharing the credit for the look of the interior, citing co-worker Tom Lutz as a key player.

"Tom has his fingerprints all over this place," says Wilson. "That bagel display came from the brain of Tom Lutz. He sketched that out."

St. Paul Bagelry's menu starts with the basics (bagels sold individually or by the dozen) and works its way up to complex and delicious creations including a pizza bagel with pepperoni or sausage plus cheese and the MacGyver bagel with hot roast beef, Swiss cheese, garlic herb cream cheese, red onions, and green peppers, served on whatever sort of bagel you like (Asiago is the recommended choice).

And while the bagels are king at the St. Paul Bagelry's Minneapolis location, it's the shop itself – open, inviting, and thoroughly contemporary – that invites both new and returning customers to stay for awhile and consider the crucial question of the day: "What do I want on my bagel today?"

St. Paul Bagelry, 5426 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55419, 651-488-1700