Rosemary sea salt bagels, lox, and extremely thick servings of lemon zest and jalapeno cream cheese are making a return to Detroit streets, specifically the streets of Core City.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Institute of Bagels announced reopening plans on its social media pages after what was supposed to be a permanent closure. The business will be located at the former site of Ochre Bakery, which closed in May 2022.
“I missed some of the ability to use good food to bring people together,” Ben Newman, co-founder of the Detroit Institute of Bagels, said in a Thursday interview with BridgeDetroit.
Newman added he’s excited, but also nervous. “Ochre and Astro (Coffee) are big shoes to fill – they made amazing food and I also know we have our own reputation to live up to,” he said. “I just hope that we can meet expectations.”
The decision to reopen in Core Center was “fortuitous,” he said, with the closing of Ochre Bakery, and the closure of Astro Coffee next door, around the same time. With the new location, major changes are expected for the Detroit Institute of Bagels.
“We’re developing a Noshery, which is our play on a Jewish deli,” Newman said. The grab-and-go deli will be slightly scaled back from a traditional deli, he said, but will offer all the classics including pastrami on rye bread made in-house, matzah ball soup, and a latkes-like dish. Detroit Institute of Bagels will be making small adjustments to the kitchen space and adding a bagel oven.
Depending on when equipment arrives, the owners plan to open the deli and start their business deliveries later this year or early next year. Over the subsequent months they plan to offer breakfast and deli sandwiches for customers to enjoy in the restaurant.
In September 2020, much to the dismay of loyal customers, Detroit Institute of Bagels said it was permanently closing and putting the business, storefront, and brand up for sale for more than $1.5 million.
The decision, Newman told multiple news outlets at the time, came following various COVID-19 constraints and a desire to spend more time with his family. The 7-year-old bagel shop was in the midst of a planned expansion and had received development permits just a few days before COVID-19 closed K-12 schools across the country and brought the popular bagel spot’s plans to a halt.
The company sold the building to the coffee roasting company, James Oliver Coffee Co. In November 2021, Oliver opened up shop, with a menu similar to the Detroit Institute of Bagels, but the establishment failed to garner the same cult-like following as its predecessor. For one, the bagels come toasted only by request.
The announcement of the Detroit Institute of Bagel’s return was met with much enthusiasm online, with thousands of views and hundreds of comments between its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Facebook users responded to the news with comments including “you’ve been missed so much” and “I’ve been dying for your bagels.”
The initial decision to close, Newman told BridgeDetroit, “felt very permanent.” But after some nights of good sleep and the social isolation of COVID-19, he felt differently.
“I went through all the different phases of closing and have come out feeling rejuvenated,” he said.