There’s going to be a permanent location soon for one of the city’s best bagel outfits. Rubinstein Bagels — which the Seattle Times praised as a standout in a growing local bagel scene — is planning on opening a new cafe inside the Via6 luxury apartment building at Sixth Ave and Lenora sometime in mid-October. The project was announced a year ago, although details took some time to finalize, as the shop has been operating as a delivery and retail-only operation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owner Andrew Rubinstein has been perfecting his bagel recipe since 2016, using long-fermented sourdough with organic ingredients, baked on a stone hearth. As it built a following, he originally tried to find space for a shop in Sammamish, before teaming up with restaurateur Ethan Stowell at Cortina Cafe downtown.
But when COVID measures shut many places down, the bagel bakery shifted mostly to delivery, in addition to some retail sales at cafes such as Citizen in Queen Anne, Moonshot Coffee White Center, and Olympia Coffee in West Seattle. It still shares a kitchen with Cortina, which is closed temporarily.
“Pivoting to delivery saved my butt,” Rubinstein tells Eater Seattle, noting that he runs the whole operation with just one other employee, and makes 400-700 bagels every weekday. “But there’s certainly constraints not having any pickup possibilities.”
The baker knows he’ll continue to have to step up his game In a city that’s starting to develop a much stronger bagel scene than it had a few years ago. In addition to delis such as Dingfelder’s and Zylberschtein’s, there are the popular offerings from Porkchop & Co, Eltana, Westman’s, and Mt. Bagel (the local sensation that started on Instagram). “It’s like a bagel renaissance happening here,” says Rubinstein.
When things are up and running in the news space, he says that the shop will expand to more flavors (currently there are eight, including salted rosemary and shallot), plus different dough types. Rubinstein also plans to serve breakfast sandwiches and lunch sandos, while also partnering with Olympia Coffee Roasters on its beverage menu. If all goes well, an expansion to the Eastside could be in the works.