Last year we met Kate and Jen Lloyd, owners of Rise Bagel Co., as they were into their third year selling their bagels at farmer’s markets around the Twin Cities with the hope of, maybe someday, opening a shop.
On June 10 that day came, and the Twin Cities should be thrilled.
Rise Bagel occupies space in what used to be Indigo, an Asian and tribal art and furniture gallery at 530 N. 3rd Street in Minneapolis. Mixed in with offices, warehouses and lofts, the space has been transformed into an airy, open restaurant, the duo is still making their delicious Jewish delicacies. But finding new and interesting ways to top them.
Over three visits last week (I’m nothing if not thorough), I found one thing that you really want with any food: consistency. The bagel from a busy Sunday morning tasted the same at the end of a post-holiday lunch to the midst of a lunch rush. The bagels are the same as I remembered from last summer: Crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and great with cream cheese or butter.
(In the interest of full disclosure: I’m going to start on about the rest of the menu. I don’t keep kosher. Most people I know don’t keep kosher. Others could eat here and just not mix meat and milk. Kate Lloyd did say they would adapt items on the menu to fit kosher-style if that’s your jam. I don’t judge, but what gets said from here on out is the views of the editor and his meal companion).
The first meal I had there was the Smoked Turkey sandwich. I opted for the salt bagel, which isn’t as overpowering with the topping as the everything bagel (more on that in a minute). It was just great flavor and a nice little crunch of salt.
The sandwich itself is great. It doesn’t break new ground (smoked turkey, cheddar, scallion cream cheese, butter lettuce and tomato), but it’s the little things. The turkey is local and organic from Ferndale Market, the cheese is organic and thick-sliced, and the tomato isn’t a flimsy slice; it’s oven-roasted, which pulls out a little sweetness in each bite. It’s simple done very well.
Back to the everything bagel. This bagel, along with the poppy and sesame-seeded bagels, is covered all over with toppings. And you know when one is being toasted because the ENTIRE restaurant smells like toasted toppings, and it is glorious. I had it with their hand-mixed rosemary butter, which I’m fairly certain would pair well with anything.
The everything bagel was also the vessel for the Lox sandwich my long-time friend, Grant Boelter. The $12 for the sandwich looks spendy at
first glance, but the lox is thick sliced; again, no flimsy toppings here. And his mind was made up when he saw Jen Lloyd slicing it off the filet, at the back cutting board. The lox is procured from the much-feted crew at Upton 43.
“You get a healthy dose of it, and it balances well with the toppings,” he said of the plain cream cheese, red onion slices and capers. And he was thrilled at the quality delivered from the Upton 43 crew. His verdict: Great value for the amount of lox.
I went for a breakfast sandwich – the Artisan, which is an organic egg, bacon, Havarti, arugula, rosemary butter and apple mustard sandwich. The apple mustard didn’t give much mustard flavor to me, although that’s fine as it was the least-anticipated part of the sandwich for me. It did give a nice texture that worked well the rest of the ingredients.
For dessert, we went with the option that isn’t really dessert. Off the Open-Faced section of the menu, we tried the Pop Art: Toasted plain bagel with buttercream frosting cream cheese (you read that right), strawberry preserves and sprinkles. Not a strawberry preserves person, I went without and was thrilled with the results. Grant thought that the preserves may have been a bit too much and the cream cheese could have stood alone. It’s sweet – although not overly so – but it helped to share it with someone. It might be a tad too sweet to have it all.
Other sandwiches include a roast beef — made from house-roasted organic beef supplied from Hidden Stream Farm in Elgin, Minn., and a well-stocked veggie sandwich.
One of the things that stands out is the bagel flavors: all are savory, none are sweet. No cinnamon-sugar or cinnamon raisin. Not for lack of trying, Jen Lloyd said; They’ve had them, but they haven’t been popular. They have sweeter cream cheeses like strawberry, lemon-blueberry and the buttercream frosting that work with the savory bagels. But given the quality of the bagel, gimmicky flavors aren’t needed.
The beverage options are great as well. They have local sodas, always delicious Mexican Coca-Cola, and coffees (hot and cold-press) sourced from St. Paul’s Bootstrap Coffee Roasters.
Whether you’re looking for a Sunday morning brunch spot, a quick weekday lunch, or a place to take a midmorning coffee break, Rise is your spot.