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If there’s one thing Washingtonians love to complain about, it’s the lack of decent bagels in D.C. So here’s some good news: Jeremiah Cohen, the former general manager at Tabard Inn, is scouting locations to bring a bagel shop to D.C. In the meantime, his Bullfrog Bagels will be sold at Cork Market on 14th Street NW this Friday through Sunday. (UPDATE: Due to high demand, the bagels will also be available next weekend, June 6 through 8.)
After his split with Tabard Inn last year, Cohen says took a temporary gig at Two Amys, where he learned a lot about dough and baking from co-owner Peter Pastan and his team. “The passion just carried over to this whole bagel,” he says. He began to make bagels in early mornings when he couldn’t sleep and has continued to make them over the last six months. The name Bullfrog Bagels is a reference to the Three Dog Night song “Joy to the World,” with the famous lyrics “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.”
Cohen’s “chewy, but not-too-chewy” New York-style bagels use a wild, young levain (a less sour sourdough starter) rather than commercial yeast and are hand-rolled and boiled in small batches. “All those things combined really do turn out quite a wonderful product that it’s hard to find around here,” he says.
When Cohen first approached Cork owner Diane Gross, he asked where she got her bagels. “I said, ‘I fly them in from New York,'” she says. “Having lived in New York and having eaten those bagels for so long and trying to find something similar to what you grew up with, it’s hard around here.”
But Gross was immediately taken by Cohen’s bagels and has offered up the kitchen at Cork Market for a pop-up this weekend. It will likely be the first of a series of pop-ups over the next few months. The bagels will be available in plain, sesame, poppy, onion, and everything flavors. Bullfrog Bagels will also sell bialys, and Cork market is making a number of schmears, including plain, scallion, and smoked salmon cream cheeses, as well as a citrus goat spread and fresh Vermont Creamery butter. The bagels and bialys will cost $1.50 each. Buy a dozen bagels, and you get a free bialy.
Cohen expects to make 600 to 1,000 bagels over the course of three days. More than 200 have already been pre-sold. If you’re interested in buying a dozen or more bagels, you can pre-order them by emailing info@CorkDC.com or calling (202) 265-2674. You can also just stop by the shop for your bagel fix. The pop-up will begin at 10 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
As for his own location, Cohen says he’s looking, but he’s not focused on any particular neighborhood. He’s more interested in finding a space that’s affordable. “When I grew up in D.C… we would drive 10, 15 miles to get a bagel,” he says. He hopes his place will be a destination no matter where it is.
Photo courtesy Bullfrog Bagels