Sea Wolf Bakers’ highly anticipated bagel shop, Oxbow, is now open in Montlake, serving bagels, pastries, espresso, and beer and wine to-go in a space next to Italian restaurant Cafe Lago. The brothers who own the enterprise, Jesse and Kit Schumann, opened the shop on May 25 to delve into baked goods they didn’t have the space for at Sea Wolf Bakers, namely bagels, pizza, and different types of rye bread.
Jesse says he first started dabbling with bagels for fun when he and Kit lived in Portland before they moved to Seattle and started their business. After they opened Sea Wolf Bakers in 2014, they tried making bagels a few times in their bakery, but found it too difficult without the space for specialized equipment — like cumbersome bagel boilers — needed to produce them in quantity.
“We couldn’t quite squeeze that into Sea Wolf on the regular,” Jesse says. “So it’s just been kind of lurking in the back of our minds for a while.”
As Sea Wolf Bakers grew (it’s now the favorite bakery of many chefs, including Renee Erickson, who serves the bread at her restaurants like Walrus and the Carpenter) they started running into capacity issues. The brothers decided to open a new shop. Oxbow is now serving several types of sourdough bagels made with Skagit Valley’s Cairnspring Mills flour— poppyseed, sesame, garlic, cinnamon raisin, everything, and rye with caraway — along with cream cheese spreads, which include salmon and scallion versions. Pastries include quiches, pecan rolls, scones, and biscotti. The espresso will be made with beans from Hyacinth Coffee, a small-batch roaster started at Sea Wolf Bakers in 2021, and beer includes local breweries like Cloudburst.
For now, the business is takeout only, and Jesse says he’ll keep it that way until he feels sure it’s safe for his staff to start dine-in service (he’s been more careful with COVID precautions than most other business owners throughout the pandemic).
“We feel confident that people will bear with us if we take the extra safe approach, he says. “And in general, customers have been really appreciative.”
But seating, as well as an expansion of the menu to include pizza and various types of rye bread, are in the works for the future. Though Jesse doesn’t know exactly what that pizza will look like, the dough is sure to be excellent, and he says Oxbow will offer a hefty, veggie-heavy pie somewhat similar to those he served at Moon Pizza pop-ups he did earlier in the pandemic.
So far, he says, business has been steady. It probably helped that celebrity food writer and proud bagel fan J. Kenji López-Alt gave the bagels a shoutout on Instagram within a couple of days of the opening.
“The neighborhood’s been really welcoming, and that always feels good,” Jesse says.
Oxbow is located at 2307 24th Avenue E. It’s open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.