Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 16, 2011

Much Ado About Bagels

Brothers Ben and Dan Newman are out to save the bagels for Detroit

Last week I mentioned the new public Tuesday market at Detroit’s Eastern Market. With about 40 booths and 3,000 shoppers it’s a mini-version of the traditional Saturday market day, which attracts 175 produce and food product vendors and 40,000 buyers.

One thing the Tuesday market has over the Saturday original: the Detroit Institute of Bagels. It’s a big name for a small operation launched by brothers Ben and Dan Newman, who handcraft their bagels in the kitchen of their Corktown apartment.

They’ve attracted a lot of buzz from the media, not to mention bagel lovers in a city with few options in that department. And it’s not just because they turn out a good product, or because they used crowd-funding to raise over $10,000 (the cost of a proper oven) toward their goal of opening a real storefront for their business.

Some of the excitement has got to be about these 20-something brothers from the suburbs, with degrees in business and urban planning from the University of Michigan, who are investing their energy and resources in becoming entrepreneurs in the city of Detroit by kneading, boiling and baking balls of dough.

And they’re doing it with humor; check out their website and Save the Bagels! videos.

Only in Detroit.

Anyway, Graham and Paige met some friends at this week’s Tuesday market; he was looking for ingredients for dinner (more about that later) and she wanted to get another Crushed smoothie and nab a DIB bagel because last week we arrived just after they’d sold out of their batch of 10 dozen.

By the time Paige and I arrived at Tuesday market last week, the guys had sold their last bagel; she nabbed a couple this week

Graham struck out on his shopping list, but Paige satisfied her hankering for a smoothie and DIB curiosity with a strawberry poppy bagel. And the sweetheart brought home a rosemary-sea salt-olive oil bagel for me.

It had great shape—well-rounded and a good size. Just crusty enough on the outside with good texture—not too dense or chewy. Subtle flavor of rosemary. I liked it. ($1.50 plain or traditional, $2 for specialty flavors)

When the brothers open their dream spot in the city, I’ll be there. In the meantime, to try the inventive bagels (bacon cheddar or blueberry ricotta, anyone?) get to Eastern Market’s Tuesday market by 1 p.m.


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