For weeks, it’s been evident that all kinds of finishing touches have been taking place at the North Loop home of Rise Bagel Co.
After several years of using the Fulton Farmers Market – and relying upon a number of well-timed pop-ups – to forging a cult following for their exceptional bagels, owners (and siblings) Jen Lloyd and Kate Lloyd announced in November that they were building a permanent home for their standard-setting operation. A year-round source of Rise Bagels? File that under P, for Prayers Answered. And then the waiting game began.
Proof positive that restaurants don’t just materialize with the snap of a finger, the project hit a few snags, but the Sisters Lloyd persisted, and their roomy, fragrant shop quietly opened on Saturday morning. Hurrah.
Located in a century-old former candy factory – and occupying the space that was the longtime home of Indigo (the enchanting retailer has relocated to the Northrop King building in northeast Minneapolis), the Lloyds' roomy, loft-like operation fits right into the neighborhood, its timber-and-brick good looks stylishly trimmed in black. (Apologies for the murky images; I visited during a crazy thunderstorm that turned the Sunday morning sky into Sunday night).
The menu covers the same ground as the farmers market stand, and then some. The Lloyds’ all-organic standards are all here: plain bagels, plus bagels liberally studded with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt and a combination of all three, and they remain the same wonderfully crusty, chewy, hefty, dimpled and deeply golden boil-and-bake specimens familiar to farmers market shoppers. With one key difference: now customers can now watch them be produced in the shop’s showy, wide-open kitchen.
The cream cheese schmear selection has expanded, and now includes jalapeno, lemon-dill, horseradish, strawberry, lemon-blueberry (along with scallion, garlic, honey-walnut and other familiar basics), and yes, there’s a vegan cream cheese option, along with plain butter, a locally produced peanut butter and rosemary-infused butter. (Single bagels start at $1.75).
Now that Rise has matriculated beyond its cramped farmers market stand, the menu has been enlarged to include bagel sandwiches ($5.50 to $12), split between breakfast and lunch alternatives.
Breakfast (served all day) includes the “Artisan,” a fried organic egg with crispy bacon, arugula, Havarti cheese and swipes of both rosemary butter and apple mustard; or salmon gravlax with all the right trimmings: red onion, capers and plain cream cheese. There’s a mix-and-match option (including vegan sausage), too.
At lunch, there’s roast beef with arugula, caramelized onions, crisped-up shallots and horseradish cream cheese; another combination includes spinach, cucumbers, carrots, sprouts, Havarti cheese, Dijon mustard, and lemon-dill cream cheese. Dessert? How about a plain bagel lavished with buttercream icing, strawberry preserves and sprinkles?
(Breakfast items are served all day, and lunch service begins at 11 a.m.).
The shop is a remarkable achievement for a pair of self-taught bakers, who set out to rectify the Twin Cities’ tepid (and that's being generous) bagel landscape. Inspiration came in the form of cross-continent journey (traveling to the bagel capitals of New York City, Montreal and San Francisco), seeking out and learning from the very best. That odyssey was followed by a year of recipe-testing in Jen’s cramped Minneapolis condominium kitchen. All their hard work paid off, and anyone craving a well-crafted bagel needs to add the North Loop to their routine.
Rise Bagel Co. is in very good entreprenurial company, joining the ranks of innovative food businesses launched at farmers markets, including Sun Street Breads, Bogart Doughnut Co., Foxy Falafel, Chef Shack, Aki's Bread Haus, T-Rex Cookie and Gorkha Palace. Will the Lloyds return to the Fulton Farmers Market? Yes, but not until September, after taking the summer to grow into their new digs.
Rise Bagel Co. is located at 530 N. 3rd St. in Minneapolis, and is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Look for the white neon "Open" sign.