Midpeninsula Post

Boichik Bagels is bringing the taste of New York to Palo Alto this summer

(Emily Yao)

Boichik Bagels is opening a location in Palo Alto’s Town and Country Village this summer, bringing with it the nostalgic taste of the East Coast. Created with direct inspiration from founder Emily Winston’s childhood bagels from New York City, Boichik Bagels is a Berkeley-based store that sells bagels, spreads and seafood. 

In January, the business announced its plans for a new location in Palo Alto, which will be opening in the summer. The unique flavor of the store’s products caused significant demand in the Bay Area soon after she opened in 2019.

Boichik Bagels’s uniqueness comes from its flavors that are modeled after H&H Bagels in New York City. Winston recalled H&H’s shutdown being the reason she began making her own bagels.

“I was so devastated that I was never going to have their bagel ever again that I thought I would just try to work on making my own,” Winston said.

The process was slow. But after many classes and extensive networking, Winston opened Boichik Bagels in Berkeley in 2019. The malty sweetness of her bagels soon garnered attention for the business and earned it a writeup in The New York Times.

Winston said Boichik Bagels also aims to capture an authentic Jewish bagel experience. The Jewish tradition is for bagels to come from a bakery, then given to an appetizing store to be topped with dairy and seafood. As bagels became more popular, so did the concept of eating bagels with toppings like eggs and bacon. Boichik Bagels offers a more unique take on the bagel experience, serving spreads, seafood and veggies instead of meat. 

Boichik serves bialys as well. Lacking the malty sweetness of bagels, a bialy — which Winston called the bagel’s cousin, pronounced bee-ah-lee — is baked without being boiled first, and filled with onions in its depressed center. 

“I really think it would be nice to be kosher [with the way we sell bagels] because … to me, that’s part of the bagel experience,” Winston said.

Winston also aims to capture a sense of nostalgia for fellow ex-East Coasters in her products — given the fact that nostalgia is what drove her to found Boichik.

“It’s like [nostalgia is] this archery target, and there’s a bull’s eye,” Winston said. “You’re either in that bullseye or you’re not, and so with the bagels … my quest was to hit that bullseye.”

That feeling of nostalgia and the uniqueness of Boichik Bagels’s products attracted considerable demand in the Bay Area and specifically in Palo Alto, with some taking an hour-long drive to Berkeley for a taste. To meet this need, the store established a delivery system that delivers directly to homes.

Now, Winston plans to expand her business to meet this demand, opening a new location in Palo Alto’s Town and Country Village and a factory in West Berkeley before subsequently opening more retail stores around the Bay Area.

With the new factory, Boichik Bagels also plans to bring back pastries, which it sold before an overwhelming demand for bagels led to a lack of space and time, leading Winston to remove the pastries from the menu. However, the larger location and new factory will allow the pastry program to return, which Winston said she’s excited about.

“Everything has to be what I want to eat,” Winston said. “We don’t sell anything that I don’t think is exactly how I want it to taste.”

That model brought Boichik Bagels from Winston’s baking experiments to a successful business, and Winston hopes that as the business continues to grow, she’ll be able to stay at the forefront of it all.

“I want to build it myself,” Winston said. “That’s what satisfying for me — it’s like, ‘I made this. I built this.’ And I do that every day.”

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